Our world is saturated with coping mechanisms because we’re engraved to feel shame from setbacks. We suppress our suffering and project a false sense of perfection. A projected perfection that social media craves to entice you to believe is the only thing people would accept to see… if they really knew the truth…they’d reject me.
It’s easy to want to sacrifice just about anything to run from our pain in desperate hope an outlet will just make it all disappear.
Addiction. Idolatry. Busyness. Substance Abuse. Relationships.
Fill in the blank.
Do you have an outlet you’re running to? What pain are you trying to hide that’s burning inside of you?
Let’s talk about fire. I don’t know about you but I love candles. One day, I randomly felt this nudge to research the science of a flame as I was lighting my candle.
According to “Explain That Stuff“, this is what I learned:
“Perhaps surprisingly, the brightest part of the flame is not the hottest. The blazing part of the flame gives off three quarters of its energy as light and only a quarter as heat…The hottest parts of a candle flame are actually the blue, almost invisible area near the base.“
After reading this, I recognized how our pain in life is relatable to the process of lighting a candle. When we go through loss, heartache, hardship – you name it – initally, we are all-consumed with the infliction of our wicks burning from the fire. But…I couldn’t help but notice that if only “25%” of the flame’s energy is given off as “heat”, and “75%” of the flame’s energy is given off as “light”…could we possibly find hope that we have a greater light to gain from our burning pain on the other side?
I also came across an interesting fact from Darling Candles – did you know that “large, untrimmed wicks make hotter and larger flames”? This “means your candle is burning up faster and turing your dollars into soot and smoke. We recommend trimming your candle wicks before each burn to 1/4 inch to maintain a healthy candle.”
I’m here to tell you not to forget we’re always faced with a choice.
Do we continue to surpress or wallow in our pain and allow ourselves to fuel the magnitude of the heat? Or do we surrender by trimming back the wick to let Jesus take over and come in to become healthy, and choose to live again?
The story in the bible that immediately came to mind is that of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in Daniel Chapter 3. I encourage you to read the entire chapter for full context, but below I will just share the portion that really spoke to me.
“…but if you do not worship, you will be thrown immediately into a blazing furnace. Then what god will be able to rescue you from my hand…’If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Magesty’s hand. But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you set up.’ Then Nebuchadnezzar was furious with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, and his attitude toward them changed. He ordered the furnace heated seven times hotter than usual.” Daniel 3:15-19 (NIV)
Nebuchadnezzar was trying to force the nation to bow down to his idol of gold or they would be thrown into fire as punishment. Enduring Word commentary states that Nebuchadnezzar’s intent of creating the idol was “to say that the day of his regin and authority would never end – in contradiction to God’s declared plan.”
Fully aware that being thrown into a fire, logically, would inflict a serious amount of pain, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego believed in faith God would save them; whether that meant physically or, “IF NOT”… He would still be good…because they would get to be with Him for eternity. This friends is what our mindset needs to be focused on – eternity. He may not take away your current circumstance inflicting the pain. Whether or not He does, there is still something for you to gain.
“‘Weren’t there three men that we tied up and threw into the fire?’ They replied, ‘Certaintly, Your Majesty.’ He said, ‘Look! I see four men walking around in the fire, unbound and unharmed , and the fourth looks like the son of the gods.’…Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego came out of the fire…They saw that the fire had not harmed their bodies…Then Nebuchadnezzar said, ‘Praise be to the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who sent his angel and rescued his servants! They trusted in him and defied the king’s command and were willing to give up their lives rather than serve or worship any god except their own God. Therefore I decree that the people of any nation or language who say anthing against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego be cut into pieces and their houses be turned into piles of rubble, for no other god can save in this way.”
Daniel 3:26-29 (NIV)
Remember that flame I mentioned above? “The hottest parts of the candle flame…are almost invisible near the end of the base.” You may not see physically what He is doing or working in you in the midst of the hottest part of the pain; but God is already with you in that place.
Just maybe it is of no coincidence that science tells us the brighest part of the flame is not the hottest. I believe it’s because the light we shine once we’ve overcome our season of pain cannot compare to the beauty brought back to The Kingdom as gain. We have to be willing to walk through seasons of painful ignition in order to become the result of a light that shines in someone else’s darkness.
One of the most influentional mentors in my life, Tammy Park, shared a deeper context to Psalm 23:4 with me back in July of 2018, and it is something I will not and cannot ever forget.
“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil for you are with me” (NIV)
She said, “Rhianna, even in the darkness you are sill walking which means you are moving and you’re not stuck. This will pass.”
The reason this remider is so profound is because Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were “WALKING” in the fire INTENDED to KILL THEM! They had NO idea that their faith in embracing whatever pain was about to come their way would have brought such a massive Kingdom gain. Their trust in The Lord ended up convicting this King consumed in darkness to proclaim God as the true King, and further empowered the rest of his nation to repent and do the same.
What do you think…are you ready to turn your pain into gain?
As for me – I initially couldn’t imagine wanting to process the deep tretcherous pain of being abandoned in marriage. Could I really handle anymore? Instead of running to the outlets the world could’ve offered me, I surrended, embraced it, and laid it before Jesus’ feet — and in time gained a beautiful transformation and a testimony to which nothing could compete.
In transparency, I was absolutely terrified of sharing my testimony. Many moments I wrestled with fear. Fear of the potential that the result would only open a multitude of doors of judgement, shame, or even blame. Then one day The Lord convicted me. Just what if I have the opportunity to be a light that empowers someone else to embrace their pain — so they too can seek hope and find purpose in the light of their flame?
“For at one time you were in darkness, but now you are a light in the Lord. Walk as children of light.” Ephesians 5:8
I encountered 7 people in JUST the first year after I shared my story. People who were also intially afaid of embarking on a similar journey to mine. I then went on to step out in faith and publish a book, and today those numbers continue to grow. In due time, I was finally able to see what The Lord was speaking over me as I continue to watch some of those people to this day pass forth their story of pain — igniting empowerment in others to do the same.
Friend, I encourage you to embrace your pain. Because with Jesus you have nothing to lose, but everything to gain.
“I have made you a light for the gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.” Acts 13:47