Christina Fox on When Emotional Healing is Painful

“I’m sorry, I know this hurts, but it’s what we have to do to heal your arm.”

That’s what the physical therapist said as he dug his fingers deep into my forearm. I have tendinitis or what is commonly called, tennis elbow. And no, it’s not from playing tennis, but from writing. The pain has kept me from my usual writing schedule. In fact, it has interfered with every area of my life because I use my right arm for everything.

As the therapist massaged the tendon in my arm, he explained that he was separating the scar tissue that had formed. Then he told me that I would have to do the same at home.

To be honest, what he did to my arm hurt more than the tendinitis. It felt like he was stabbing at an open wound. And didn’t he realize I chose physical therapy because I preferred not to receive injections in my arm?

Growing Pains

The idea that we have to endure pain in order to heal is not isolated to the physical realm. This is true in our spiritual lives as well.

When we encounter God’s grace and he makes us his child through faith in Christ, he doesn’t leave us as we are. Upon salvation, though we are changed in the eyes of God as he looks at us and sees Christ’s righteousness and not our sin, he doesn’t make us perfect right then and there. Rather, he changes and transforms us through a process theologians call sanctification. This process is compared to a refiner’s fire where the gold or silver’s impurities are melted away, leaving the pure and valuable substance behind (Malachi 3).

What that means is, when I ask God to transform me, to make me more like Christ, He doesn’t instantly change me. He strips away my sin through a multitude of circumstances and situations.

For example, when I pray and ask God to make me patient, I don’t wake up the next morning a patient person. Instead, God gives me opportunities to learn and practice patience. He might even allow frustrating situations into my life that stretch my patience. He might also open my eyes, through the work of His Spirit, to see my impatience so that I might repent and seek His forgiveness. All of this is hard work and sometimes painful.

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Christina Fox