Cramping Up

“So Jacob named the place Peniel (which means ‘face of God’), explaining, ‘Certainly I have seen God face to face and have survived’ … but he was limping because of his hip.”  Genesis 32:30b-31 (NET & NLT)

I went for a run today. Part of the way through, my left calf started to cramp up. Dehydrated? Maybe.  Still recovering from a prior workout? Probably.  Should I slow down our walk it out a bit?  But if I constantly accommodate for every ache and pain, I’ll never getting stronger.  Should I push through it?  But what if it’s really injured, or if I end up really injuring it?  Then I’ll be out of commission for a longer period of time.

The Christian journey can be like that, can’t it?  How are we to interpret events or circumstances that come our way?  Is God telling me to slow down or change directions?  Should I read the circumstances as a cautionary flag?  Or maybe he is trying to build perseverance and endurance in my character?  Maybe I need to look to Him for strength to push through?  How do I know how to respond or react?

I ask Him.

I ask the God who knows every cell of my frame & who loves me beyond my wild imaginings.  I ask Him what I am to do.

Sometimes He tells me.  Other times I have to try, in faith, what seems to be good and true.  Sometimes His answer is in accordance with conventional wisdom and knowledge.  Other times, it is completely counterintuitive. Sometimes I never really know.

And sometimes it is simply because He wants me to walk with a limp — for reasons of His own.

And I trust Him.

Pain

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.”  Romans 8:28 (NIV)

For the past several months, I’ve been negotiating some pain.  Every time I go for a run, I am left with aching pain in my right hip socket.  Come to find out that my pelvic girdle has somehow shifted and my right hip is slightly out-of-place.  So now I have to work in getting my pelvic girdle and that right hip back in alignment.

And so it is with our souls.  God often uses pain to show us that something is out-of-place.  Maybe it’s a long-standing issue that still needs work.  Maybe it’s something that has recently gotten out of alignment in our perspective or internal world.  Maybe it’s just good old-fashioned growing pain.  But God uses pain.

Truth is, I hate pain.  Internal or external, I hate pain.  It messes everything up. It’s uncomfortable and debilitating, and it hurts!

But, as I work on my hip and sit though my pain, I am reminded that maybe it’s time to consider pain from a different vantage point.  Maybe it’s time to consider pain as the beacon pointing to where I need to focus my efforts right now.  Maybe it’s time to see pain as an ally to getting me to where I truly want to go.

Maybe it’s time to remember that God uses pain … because He loves us and doesn’t want us running our race with a limp.