O my people, hear my teaching:
Listen to the words of my mouth.
I will open my mouth in parables,
I will utter things hidden from of old—
Things we have heard and known,
Things our fathers have told us.
We will not hide them from their children:
We will tell the next generation
The praiseworthy deeds of the Lord,
His power, and the wonders he has done.
I'm writing today of a teacher whose name is Pain. As I reflect on my own childhood, and those of my friends, this teacher seems never to have been far away.
We hate to think of any children experiencing pain and would do anything to protect them from it. We want all childhoods to be safe, secure; full of sunshine and only happy memories; but this is an idealized view really.
Children do suffer because of the sin and brokenness of their parents or others; the result of living in a sadly fallen world, and while will do our best to keep them safe and create happy homes, trying to avoid pain is futile.
At the time it was difficult, but without the pain I experienced as a child, I would not be who I am now. Would I change anything? Sure I would have loved it to be different, but then I would be different.
Our children, who are now adults themselves, learned their greatest life lessons to date, during times of pain, although it was and still is, very hard for us to see them suffering.
When pain comes into a child's life, we have an opportunity to encourage them to let this teacher teach them tools for living in a fallen world and to build spiritual muscle that will stand them in good stead for life. I've had to learn many times at the feet of Pain, what to avoid; a powerful lesson. And I have learned who is my refuge and strength in time of trouble.
We naturally focus our energy on mitigating pain. We pray, we worry and seek to help. But pain is inevitable. Instead of agonizing and feeling helpless, it would be so much more productive to watch for opportunities to talk to children big and small, about it; to teach them how to respond and grow through the hard times.
John 16:33 NIV
I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.
Psalm 100:5 (New International Version)
5 For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.