I don't enjoy pain. No one should, and if they do, there may be mental illness lurking. So what could possibly be freeing about pain? I got my answer last week.
Back in May, I strained my left quad muscle doing a bike workout without sufficient warmup. But instead of being out for a bit as I thought, it has dragged on for weeks. I recently had to cancel a backpacking trip because of it. So frustrating!
So what is God up to in all of this? I was wondering that myself when the answer came Thursday, or at least part of the answer. I went to see a chiropractor who is highly skilled in muscle issues. After some initial manipulating of the leg to stretch it out, he told me to sit on the table with my lower legs hanging over and then pull the injured leg back while he did something else. What that something else was I soon found out.
He put both hands right on top of the strain, applying force downward as I pulled my leg back. The pain was tremendous. It was all I could do to hold on and keep breathing. Then he repeated the process another five or six times, putting pressure each time on a slightly different place. I hated the process—but loved the result. When I got up and walked around, I could tell he had freed the tension in my leg the strain had caused. Everything just felt better.
In a flash I realized this is exactly how God works in our lives. If we allow Him, He will put his hands right on our points of pain. We think He's trying to kill us, but He's actually trying to free us. I have experienced this repeatedly as I have allowed God to heal my wounds and call me out as a man. The attachment to idols, the deep sin patterns, the refusal to grieve, the inability to love—all of these and more He has put His finger on and pressed hard, harder than I thought I could bear at times.
I have hated the process—but loved the result: experiencing His love, hearing His fatherly voice, and learning to walk with Him each day.
July 4th was the freedom day for our nation. God also has His freedom days for us—painful, but freeing. If you are in pain right now, ask God to show you how He may be freeing you in the process. And keep asking until clarity comes.
"It is for freedom that Christ has set us free" (Gal. 5:1). Yes, Lord we believe. Help us in our unbelief.