Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Before and After (05/14/09)
TITLE: There's a Hole in Your Hurt
By Noel Mitaxa
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A hole in the heart is an awful disadvantage; but a hole in your hurt opens up awesome new horizons.
Let me affirm that God’s plan is to bring healing, but instant healing isn’t always his first response to our pain. If it were, our faith would lean more on how fast we could regain our personal comfort than on how firmly we may discover him within our challenges. For it’s by embracing our challenges that we can grow into the kind of people who can help others to realise how much God loves them.
Within all our hurts there are holes that only God can fill; and whether we experience his healing instantly or gradually, the recovery he brings will increase our appreciation for life and our respect for those within our circles of influence.
Sometimes it appears that God’s healing leapfrogs right past our personal benefit, but if that happens we may be sure that he will reach through our experience of pain to bring nourishment to people who may never otherwise discover his grace.
From my final year of ministry training I vividly recall a conversation with a patient in the waiting room of a cancer clinic. After years of theological training, I knew lots of comforting advice - and appropriate scriptures - that would surely hit the spot for her. But before I could draw upon my verbal arsenal she began describing her nine years with cancer as a privilege; for she knew that God was using her experience to comfort her fellow patients. So she was not concerned about how any healing may have swept past her along the way.
Having found the God-sized hole in her hurt, she was allowing God to express his love through her - without any need to become glib, morbid or super-pious – so others could see her as a fellow-traveller with a long-term, credible faith. They were also opening up to how God was there for them: loving them, accepting them and forgiving them across their fear of death; so they began to find that his grace was more than a match for their deepest pain, weakness or frustration.
How does even the most verbally-precise pastor improve on reality like that?
After thirty years, she remains a great inspiration for when I’m ministering with those whose illnesses are described as terminal, when their condition is really transitional…
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