Judson's Legacy

Not the Enemy


Pain is not the enemy of joy.

This is my latest revelation. Frankly, it’s probably my most significant revelation since Judson became ill 2 years ago. I have been wrestling with this idea quite a bit the last several days.

As I have spoken in various settings about our journey, I have often shared about the importance of pain in our sanctification as Christians; I have slowly been coming to grips with the reality that God has chosen to work in my life, bringing about his purposes, through my heartache.  I desperately wish it did not have to be this way, but nonetheless, I have begun to accept my pain as essential to my journey toward wholeness.  God has clearly been at work in my heart and moving me into deeper relationship and reliance on Him through our suffering.

But although I have sincerely embraced the inherent value of my heartache for my eternal good, I have at the same time, almost despised it for my earthly living. I have felt captive in my pain, as though I’ve been facing a lifetime as a prisoner to it, never again to experience the full joy of life.

Something has been amiss.

Although I have certainly tasted and even spoken of the intermingling of joy and pain, my deepest feelings have reflected a belief that joy and pain function in opposition to one another—pain being the antithesis of joy.  In many ways, I have operated as if their relationship is antagonistic, as though my heartache has volitionally sought to thwart my joy…even crush it!

But pain is not the enemy of joy.

My joy cannot eradicate my pain, but neither can my pain wipe out or rob me of my joy.  They are not seeking to conquer one another like hostiles in combat battling to gain full occupation of my heart; they are not foes. I am beginning to recognize that healthy living requires that my pain and joy learn to peacefully coexist. They must function together, hand in hand.  It is clear that joy cannot diminish my pain and loss, but it is also clear that my joy cannot be held prisoner by my pain.  As I begin to accept and expect pain and joy to be allies, it will enable me to experience more of the fullness of life. In fact, my heartache can even sweeten my joy!

6 Responses to "Not the Enemy"

  1. Robyn says:

    Oh, Christina! What a giant leap you have taken on your journey. Pain and joy can work together to help us have a full life. I pray for you each day and know that God continues to assure you of His purpose for your life. Blessings.

  2. Sandy Mitchell says:

    Once again you are showing us all how amazing you are. What an insightful post! I wish you didn’t have the pain of losing sweet Jud. I’m hurting with you and praying for you always.


  3. Lindsay says:

    Christina – I love this. I have asked the question, how can joy and pain exist in the same heart at the same time. And this post beautifully answers that question. Love to you.

  4. Cathy Horner says:

    Amazing Christina, truely amazing!!!

  5. Liz says:

    Beautiful! True wisdom on pain and joy! I love reading your blog! You point us to Christ, Christina! Thank you for honoring Him in the midst if your trials. You have a powerful and encouraging testimony! I have been doing Beth Moore’s Fruit of the Spirit study. She teaches that we need to seek God in the midst of our trials and look at them as an oppertunity for intimacy with Him. I see that in you. Thanks for your honesty, it is a blessing.

  6. Carrie Virtue-Gundlach says:

    beautiful thoughts, christina. holding those in tension together – so key but so difficult. freeing, though, to let go of the fixation of completely ridding yourself of the pain, since that can’t happen anyways… i really enjoyed reading this, really makes me think.

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