Pain power, number one. Welcome to these Wellings for Your Spiritual Health and Growth along with new year greetings and blessings.
Over the next five Mondays of 2022, I wish to talk about an important matter that addresses all of us, which affects all of us, regardless of class, creed, color, and any other conviction. We’re calling the series pain power. You’ve heard of the word power applied to class, creed, and conviction. Black power, white power, brown power, Hindu power, Christian power, Muslim power, upper class power, lower class power, all kinds of power. But today, I speak about pain power, which affects every class, every creed, every conviction, every caste, every color.
Pain power, perhaps the first thing that students ask after a class is to share my PowerPoint with them. You know a PowerPoint, it’s these ubiquitous important ways by which communicators try to be more effective, to help with understanding and provide movement for an otherwise boring talk. You may experience that in my five-part series when we present this as PowerPoints in teaching outline.
I remember going to a country where we had asked prior if they had PowerPoint. And they said, sure, we do. Went into the classroom, I looked around in a very sparse and modest classroom. I asked for the PowerPoint. And my host pointed to the electrical outlet and said, there’s your power point. Now, those are unexpected.
When there’s pain that’s real or perceived, they often linger. And true discomfort becomes experience. Entrepreneurs and leaders call them pain points and how pain points can be seen as opportunities. The Bible too sees pain, a pain point as an opportunity for power, a power point, that all points of pain can be transformed into points of power, that God’s strength is present with us and will give us the ability to not only meet and face but also to use pain for the sake of others. And it does not need special projection or electrical outlets.
So this kind of power, beyond presentation tools, is what I’m going to call pain power. For our opening talk, I go to the book of Hebrews, where the author writes, no discipline for this present moment is pleasurable. It is painful. But later on, it produces a fruit of harvest and peace, of righteousness for those who have been trained by it.
At this point, you may be experiencing pain. We have all experienced pain. I have had times of crushing pain in my life, not only physically but emotionally and spiritually. That’s the way by which we can find a harvest of righteousness and peace, trained by and turned into power points, learning first and then teaching others.
So each of these times, I’ll give you a PowerPoint outline. You can take notes or take pictures and keep those notes into the future for your remembrance but also for your blessing of others.
The first power point from a pain point, in this new year, we don’t know if we have already gone through the pandemic or if it’s still going to hang around in a permanent way in some fashion or form. But what has happened over the last two years is that pain has played the role of clarifier. Pain clarifies. That’s the power point.
Clarify means it’s less ambiguous. It is more transparent for our understanding and for application. So pain clarifies in a few ways. Let me give you a couple. One, pain clarifies my beliefs, your beliefs. On what truths am I focused on, am i concentrating? Because your belief is what you hold to be true. And no one wants to knowingly hold what is false.
They may hold what is false as true but not knowing it to be false, holding it as true. But deeper than that, it is what you trust as true. All of us know the contemporary mantra, it’s no pain, no pain. That is a falsehood.
Pain clarifies not only our beliefs, but it clarifies our activities, my activities. Am I truly engaged in what is the right priorities, the right mix? What is primary? What is secondary? What is tertiary?
When you’re facing surgery, for example, major surgery, suddenly everything becomes clear, doesn’t it, as to what our priorities, what are both urgent and important, not just what is urgent? You realize what is important, that must be prioritized. Pain clarifies that.
Pain also clarifies our motives, my motives, whether I’m living for my glory or for God’s glory. Pain says there shouldn’t be any encroachment, crossing the lines of God’s glory. Pain clarifies and says, there is no entitlement of God’s glory in our lives. He alone should deserve the glory. I don’t grab it or, as the author said, no embezzlement, no encroachment, no entitlement. And he said no embezzlement. Nothing should be stolen from God’s glory.
Pain clarifies. It helps us to understand beliefs, activities, motives, to remember them, to experience them, to communicate them, but most importantly, to live them. Some time ago, I had a surprise gift of pain, an intense three weeks of physical pain. It’s embarrassing to even talk about it. But I was just to speak to a very important group.
And I was in so much pain that I had to excuse myself into the private space of a restroom before I could speak in the public place. And in the washroom, I shouted. In my loudest whisper, I said, your power is made perfect in my weakness. Your power will be revealed in my weakness. Your grace will be sufficient for me. And God gave me grace just for that moment of a 30, 40 minute address to a group of 30 elite scholars, influential opinion leaders, 98% of whom were pre-Christ, were unbelievers.
He said, my grace will be sufficient for you. My power will be perfected in your weakness. That’s a pain point transformed into a power point so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.
As we go into this new year, we are going to face pain points. It is simply a reality of earthly life. Otherwise, we would confuse Earth for heaven. But pain clarifies. The pain of all sorts is accompanied by the power of God’s sort. Pain clarifies. That the point of pain, it can be translated and transformed by the power of pain.