And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”
Pain is a reality of life
Ever experienced the unpleasant feeling of an exam result that was not what you wanted or expected? Or the upsetting news that someone you love is quite sick or needs time away from you at the moment?
These are real experiences for all of us, and they are not isolated incidents in our lives. Pain is unavoidable for two reasons:
It's a powerful teacher - you learn to be more accurate with your hammer strike when you hit your thumb instead of the intended nail.
It's an unfortunate normality of a fallen world - when "all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God" there is not a human who is not tainted by the consequent pain of broken relationships, broken hopes, broken bodies, and broken minds.
Pain can as a result clutter our hearts and our prayer lives if we're not alert to how God helps us in the midst of our pain.
How God helps us
Just as much as pain can clutter our prayer life, going to prayer is the best way to see our pain heal. God is willing and ready to help us in two particular ways:
As our Redeemer
As our Just Judge
As our Redeemer
God can turn around bad situations. Even when we're the cause of them. That's who God is as our redeemer. This is a great comfort and cause for hope of real renewal in broken situations. Jeremiah the prophet, talking to some of His fellow Israelite's who are in painful exile because they have ignored God declares:
This is what the LORD says: “When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my good promise to bring you back to this place. For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."
Even though exiled to Babylon for 70 years God had plans to redeem Israel and bring them back to their homeland. To redeem the pain of their exile by His powerful loving restoration of them.
As our Just Judge
God is also our just judge. He will bring every act of injustice to justice and every wrong will be made right. Encouraging a church full of people who were having a hard time at the hands of those attacking them, Paul the Apostle declares:
"God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well..."
[2 Th 1:6–7]
Some justice we will see in the here and now, and some justice will only be seen at the end of all the ages (as this letter from Paul will go on to say), but we can't know when God will bring about justice, so it is crucial to cry out to Him for it now - Jesus teaches us He is willing and ready (Luke 18:1-8).
Clearing out the clutter of pain through prayer
Knowing that this process will not always be overnight, here's some ways to approach God in prayer for the healing and redemption of pain you might be experiencing at the moment:
If pain has been caused by another to you - ask God to specifically come and redeem you, and the situation, in a specific way?
If the pain has been caused by you - ask for forgiveness and specific guidance on how God wants to redeem the situation
If you've simply made a mistake in the journey of life, and are learning from it - ask God to show you how to make the learning redemptive for your future!
If you've experienced injustice - call upon God to bring about specific justice in your situation.
If you've caused injustice to others - ask God's forgiveness and in repentance, ask for God's guidance in how to bring about justice for those who need it in your situation.
I'm continuing to ask God to give us all a clear heart and an open heaven to hear Him and see Him tangibly at work in our lives as we draw closer to Him this Christmas.