“And the Holy Spirit helps us in our distress.  For we don’t even know what we should pray for, nor how we should pray.  But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words.  And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying,  for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God’s own will.  For we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for him.”  Romans 8:26-28

Fortunately and unfortunately, I have a high threshold for pain.  This is a good thing when I have back pain, dental problems, and was certainly beneficial I gave birth to my sons.  However, it is not a good thing when it keeps me from acknowledging physical problems that need attention.  That’s what happened this past week when a mild cold became a bad sinus infection. At first I treated symptoms myself hoping they’d go away on their own.  By the time I decided to see a doctor, my health had declined significantly and the doctor had to give me stronger medicine and prescribe it for a longer term.  Because the infection had advanced, it took 48 hours of medication before I started feeling better.  Had I acknowledged my symptoms sooner the situation wouldn’t have been as bad, I’d have had less medication, and would have responded to the medicine right away. 

Pain is a God-given alarm system for our bodies.  It’s designed to alert us to problems that need attention.  When we ignore pain we’re ignoring the problem it’s trying to warn us about.  And as you know,  the problems don’t just go away.  They continue to worsen until addressed.

Life is like that, too.  Often we ignore indicators of pain in our hearts.  We try to ignore or push our problems aside hoping they’ll go away on their own without any help or ‘medication’.  Or we try to treat them ourselves and often find our efforts are ineffective, causing the problems to worsen.  The problems we face might be caused by anger, resentment, jealousy, holding a grudge, loss, grief, fear, or depression; or maybe physical pain is taking an emotional toll.   

 Just as you would seek a doctor when you are sick, you can turn to the great Physician, Healer, and Counselor when pain in your life sets off warning alarms.  Don’t let problems fester inside you.  It isn’t healthy!  Take a few quiet moments and turn your problems over to God.  He is your Heavenly Father and He loves you too much to see you suffer!  He wants you to be happy and well. That’s why He sent an Advocate who prays for you even when you don’t know what to pray for yourself.  The Advocate is the Holy Spirit and it feels your pain.  We know this because the scripture above tells us the Holy Spirit prays with groanings that are beyond words.  So there’s no use trying to hide your problems from God because the verse above clearly states that God knows what’s in our hearts!  We have no secrets from Him!  Go ahead and open up to your loving Father.  He will take your pains and problems from you and help you find ways to cope.  He can even turn them around make wonderful things happen!  This is what we’re assured of in the words above from the apostle Paul when he tells us the Lord will take the bad and use it for the good of those who love him.

A friend at church once pointed out that if you leave an apple sitting out with a rotten spot, the rotting area will grow until it reaches the core, eventually ruining the apple.  However, if you tend to the rotting apple right away by cutting out the rotten spot, the rest of the apple will be good!  What are the rotten spots in your life?  Whatever they are, go to God in prayer and give them to Him.  Allow Him to cut them out so the rest of you can be useful and good! 

Dear God, You know our hearts, our hopes, our struggles, and our pain.  Please help me to stop pushing aside the problems in my life.  Take the things that I can’t bear or deal with on my own.  Your way is better than my way.   I put my trust in You to help me through my struggles, difficulties, and limitations knowing that You can make them work for good according to Your will and purposes for me.  In Jesus’ holy name I pray.  Amen.