I woke up in the middle of the night experiencing excruciating pain in my ring finger on my left hand. In a state of half consciousness, I had no idea what was happening. But, after a few moments, the cobwebs cleared from my brain. I realized my finger had swollen up, making my wedding band feel like a vise-grip.
I tried to release the pressure by twisting off the gold diamond ring, but it wouldn't budge. With every tug, the sensation of unbearable burning and pressure increased. Desperate for relief, I finally grabbed the petroleum jelly and lubricated my finger.
Right before resorting to a few other handy tricks for removing a tight ring, I managed to wriggle my finger and free it.
Boy did it hurt something awful!
This morning, my husband Kenya and I examined my left hand, and noticed that each of my fingers, as well as my wrist, is enlarged. Under doctor's orders, I have been increasing my activities and challenging myself with therapeutic exercises. Just as my physical therapist promised, my left hand has responded with swelling and tenderness.
Though uncomfortable, last night, the primary problem was not the puffiness or soreness. My greatest pain was caused by my failure to remove the contraption that couldn't accommodate the enlargement of my hand. Once I endured the painful removal process, the squeezing and throbbing ceased immediately.
Similar to life, there comes a time when we must break free from whatever is confining us. Though we already know this, change is still hard. So we continue catering to the very things that limit us. That is, until God allows something to wake us up out of our sleepy haze, and force us to free ourselves. Quite often, that jolt comes from pain, which the Lord uses to get us where we need to be.
Of course that doesn't mean our Heavenly Father is some maniacal cosmic boogie man who enjoys seeing us hurting; He wants good things for us! He simply knows pain is a great catalyst for change, and an effective means of course correction.
If you're dealing with a lot of frustration, hurt, and difficult issues in a specific area, be encouraged. God is enlarging you. As bad as they feel, tests, trials, and tribulations increase our faith, stretch, develop, mature, and grow us. James 1:2-4 (NIV) says, "Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." Through pain and trouble, God enhances our capacity to handle whatever we must face as we endeavor to fulfill the Father's will.
Great pain equals great growth. That's just the price of enlargement. Remember, ease and comfort keep us small.
Just as an eagle's nest is stirred so an eaglet can learn to soar, God is "like an eagle that stirs up its nest and hovers over its young, that spreads its wings to catch them and carries them on its pinions." (Deuteronomy 32:11 NIV)
The Lord stirs our nest and then, lovingly carries us until we are strong enough to fly. It's a painful and scary process, but again, that's just the price of enlargement.
I know a lot of people say, "God enlarge my territory," but they don't want to deal with what comes along with that. If you are willing to make the necessary sacrifices and endure hardship for the sake of the call, God will then use you for His glory.
TODAY'S PRAYER: God, I submit my will to You right now. Whatever I must endure to see Your divine plan unfold in my life, I say yes. Through pain, hardship, and obstacles, please give me strength to endure. And remind me that it is all a part of the process of You being glorified through me. In Jesus' name, Amen.