Do you enjoy pain? You may be thinking, what kind of ridiculous question is that? Who enjoys pain? You wouldn’t be alone in thinking that. If you go to the pharmacy or grocery store, the shelves are lined pain killers. Each of us probably has our own favorite. We live in a society that likes to go through life numbing pain.
I know I don’t personally enjoy pain and one of the most difficult things can be learning to walk through the pain. That pain can come in many forms…a physical illness, seeing a loved one struggle, the death of someone that is close to us, failures and mistakes, or…seeing our child struggle with special needs.
I recently heard the following quote by Erwin McManus, “Your pain is not the boundary for your limitation. Your pain is the boundary for your greatness.” When hearing this quote, it would be easy to think, “This guy must have had a pretty easy life.” The reality is that he said this after a life threatening battle with cancer.
The next instinct is to dismiss what Erwin said by saying, “This can’t be true because if it were I wouldn’t be struggling to get through the day. I wouldn’t be living in survival mode. I would be able to make an impact in the community around me.” The problem isn’t the quote. The problem is how we define greatness.
As I look back over our journey with special needs, I look at the person I was at the beginning and the person that I am now and I am a different person. I have grown in my ability to love. I have become more understanding. I have become a better father, a better husband. I am becoming more like Christ. I have a long way to go but I am growing. Becoming more like Christ is the greatest thing we can accomplish with our lives.
Somewhere along the way, many of us began to believe that if we followed Christ, obeyed God’s Word, and went to church that we would have good lives and then we were thrown into a spiritual tailspin when our children had the struggles that they have had.
God doesn’t promise to take away our pain but He does promise to be there with us through the pain.
Are you the parent of a child with additional needs? It can be easy to get caught up in the lows, the struggles, and the pain. I’m going to ask you to do something very difficult. I’m going to ask you to look beyond the pain and reflect on how you have grown as a person. If you are a follower of Christ, how have you become more like Him? How has your pain become the boundary for your greatness?