Incubators are marvelous devices. They perform magic as they provide heat to fertilized eggs which hatch into fuzzy babies. As “eggciting” as it is to see the babies emerge, that magic requires a great amount of struggle. There is a lesson to be found in a young bird’s journey to the outside world. We may struggle too, but we can find joy after pain and hurt.
What good is pain?
“We need . . . pain to let us know when our bodies need extra care. It’s an important signal. When we sense pain we pay attention to our bodies and can take steps to fix what hurts.” (1) While this statement was talking about physical pain, much of it applies to the emotional counterpart. Pain and hurt tell us that we need some changes. Our struggle to reach equilibrium helps us grow.
In the incubator, there is a struggle that takes place and I am sure it is not pleasant for the chick. A baby bird’s struggle leads to life in a new world. No struggle equals death.
Is pain and hurt a part of life?
If you are alive and breathing, you will experience pain from time to time, either physical or emotional. It is a fact of life. We live in an imperfect world.
The good news is that despite our imperfect world and our imperfect lives, we can find hope, joy, and peace. “There’s a lot of truth to the saying, ‘Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional’.” (2)
Does God know that I am hurting?
The answer to this question is Yes. Furthermore, He understands what you are going through.
God knows about our pain and hurt
God knows everything, long before it happens. He is in tune with each of our individual circumstances. Many of the Psalms were written by one who faced terrorists and possible death on a daily basis. He was running for his life, hiding in caves, and totally reliant on God for his ability to cope. Listen to a sample of what the author was thinking.
“Evening, morning and noon I cry out in distress and He (God) hears my voice.” Psalm 55:17 “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” Psalm 46:1-2
There are many other individuals in the Bible who faced great adversity, great struggles.
“Though he slays me, yet will I trust in him.” Job 13:15
“We are hard-pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair, persecuted, but not destroyed.” 2 Corinthians 4:8
God understands our pain and hurt
When God took on flesh through the person of Jesus, He physically and emotionally experienced every temptation, every struggle, every pain, and every hurt that mankind can experience. He is full of empathy, compassion, and understanding for what you are going through. Jesus, plus you and I are the ultimate support group. Dr. David Jeremiah put it this way,
“The Lord watches over His children and He has a pathway through every pain.” (Turning Points Magazine)
If God knows I’m huring, why doesn’t He help me?
What are you waiting for God to do? For a moment, let’s go back to the incubator.
It takes a great amount of energy for a baby chick to make the first hole in the egg as there is almost no room to move inside. Essentially, the chick is trapped inside the shell.
Is that how you feel right now? Trapped in your pain and hurt?
For baby chickens, God has provided a way of escape that requires the chick’s active participation. He designed a unique reflex in their necks that is only present when they are trying to get out of the egg. The neck jerks forward and backward almost in a seizure type motion and thus provides the impetus to break through the shell. Anyone who has experienced seizures knows that they are not pleasant.
God has given the chick a second tool. On their beak is a hard substance called an egg tooth. You guessed it. The egg tooth disappears soon after the chick escapes from its shell.
Watching the hatching process leads to human impatience. But be warned, there is only one best way out of the egg. The chick must break its own way out. Inexperienced people sometimes try to help by making further cracks in the shell. This is done to make it easier for the baby. As kind as that seems, when chicks are helped, they end up being weak and often die. Strength comes with the struggle.
Life is a lot like being in an incubator. There is just the right amount of heat to help us develop into who we were created to be. Does that mean that God doesn’t help?
Down through the ages many people have been boxed in by horrible, painful, hurtful situations. And yes, most of those people began their pleading in this way: “God, why don’t you help me?”
Don’t give up.
Help is available.
How to find joy after pain and hurt
Just like the chick in the incubator, God gives us the abilities and tools that are needed to survive our struggles emotionally and spiritually. Our God-given abilities require that we do our part. Additional tools come to us as we rely on God and His promises.
What you can do to find joy after pain and hurt
Do something physical
Get moving. The worst thing you can do is sit still lamenting your hurt and pain. Moving your muscles releases endorphins, which are pleasure hormones. (3) Exercise does not have to be extreme in nature. Start slow and work your way toward more physical activity. Most likely part of the reason that King David could write such encouraging Psalms is the fact that he got plenty of exercise running from his enemies.
Do something emotional
Laugh as often as you can. There is a reason that the Bible says that laughter is medicine for the soul (Proverbs 17:22). When we laugh, those marvelous pleasure hormones are released again.
One suggestion to jump-start your laughter is Phil Calloway’s new book, “Laugh Like A Kid Again“. He has a way with words that will tickle your funny bone. (Please note: I am not an Amazon affiliate and do not receive any commission for this recommendation). Phil also has a daily podcast called Laugh Again. Go ahead. Laugh. You will be glad you did.
Do something mental
“Start training your brain by aiming to become intentionally aware of when you begin a negative thought pattern. When you notice this happening, work to snap yourself out of the cycle.” (4) The Bible has a lot to say about our minds and what we think about. If your thoughts are holding you captive, you will want to read this article.
It is also important that you start finding things to be thankful for. The greater our sense of gratitude, the easier it is to handle the hard things in life. Also, a journal is a powerful tool in monitoring our thoughts and our gratitude.
Friends can help us brings life into perspective. God gave us each other for encouragement. (2 Corinthians 1:4)
Do something spiritual
“When I am afraid (or have been abused, abandoned, or rejected, in pain, or feeling hurt), I will trust in you (God) (Psalm 56:3). Let’s face it, we can’t control everything. There are times when we must trust God. The alternative is to not trust Him and then wish we had.
What God does to help you find joy after pain and hurt
The Bible is full of instructions and promises that are God’s tools to help us find joy after pain and hurt. Here are a few of them:
- The Lord is near to those with broken hearts and saves those crushed in spirit (Psalm 34:18)
- When you come close to God, He is there for you (James 4:8)
- The Lord heals broken hearts and binds up their wounds (Psalm 147:3)
- He is the God of all comfort (2 Corinthians 1:3-8)
- God has good plans for us, one of which is peace of mind (Jeremiah 29:11)
- God will make something good from our pain and hurt (Genesis 50:20, Romans 8:28)
“You can push Jesus away and become bitter, or you can allow Him to draw you near and make you better. He uniquely understands how awful it was for you. Others delighted in His hurt. Someone He loved betrayed Him.” (5) Tears “pave the way for spiritual healing. The God who invented tears is moved by them.” (6)
Conclusion: How to find joy after pain and hurt
Just like chicks in an incubator, God gives us the abilities and tools that help us escape feelings of entrapment from pain and hurt. We can find hope, joy, and peace in our circumstances.
To quote Angela Braniff, “Hard is not always bad.” (7) With chicks, the struggle serves to strengthen their muscles. The struggle leads to life.
We humans must also go through difficulties that strengthen our spiritual muscles. To avoid these struggles will lead to weakness.
“There is a way that seems right to man, but the ends are the ways of death” Proverbs 14:12
Will you trust God in your struggle, in your pain and hurt?
A gift for you
The following scripture card is to remind you that God is the one who brings joy after pain and hurt. NO EMAIL REQUIRED. Simply click on the image to download.
If you are looking for further scripture cards or coloring pages, please see the resource page.
- (1) “Why Do I Have Pain? (for Kids). www.kidshealth.org
- (2) “5 reasons you have to accept pain if you want to be happy.” www.psychologytoday.com.
- (3) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3104618/
- (4) https://my.happify.com/hd/tips-for-happiness-when-dealing-with-chronic-pain/
- (5) https://joyfullifemagazine.com/beauty-in-the-suffering-when-joy-comes-through-pain/
- (6) Dr. David Jermemiah, Turning Points magazine, August 2020. https://www.davidjeremiah.org/magazine
- (7) https://www.amazon.com/Love-Without-Borders-Embracing-Unexpected/dp/0062936263/ref=sr_1_1?crid=151X5IPHMGK59&dchild=1&keywords=love+without+borders+angela+braniff&qid=1598481808&sprefix=Love+without+borders%2Caps%2C208&sr=8-1