Last year I started experiencing a health issue. At first I tried to ignore it, thinking it was temporary and nothing serious. As time went on, it became clear that this was not going away, at least not on its own.
After appointments with my doctor and a specialist, surgery was scheduled. I was nervous, and I wasn’t looking forward to the pain of recovery. After all, letting someone cut into me and remove something – OUCH! It was going to hurt! But I knew that after I went through it, I’d feel better, and more importantly, I’d be much healthier. (And if I didn’t go through it, I’d be in much worse shape in the long run.)
In the series Dangerous Prayers, we learn about the power of praying prayers like “Search me,” “Break me,” or “Send me.” Now, asking God to do these things in our lives can be a little scary, just like scheduling surgery. When I give Him permission to uncover something that has to change in me, I trust that the change will be good for me, even if it’s a hard thing to walk through. There’s something I’m learning to keep in mind as I pray these prayers.
Hurt is different than harm.
God loves me, and everything He does in my life is motivated by that love. When I pray these dangerous prayers, the truth God shows me may hurt me in the moment, but ultimately it’s meant to help me. In his book Necessary Endings, Dr. Henry Cloud writes, “There’s a huge difference between hurt and harm. We all hurt sometimes in facing hard truths, but it makes us grow. It can be the source of huge growth. That is not harmful. Harm is when you damage someone. Facing reality is usually not a damaging experience, even though it can hurt.”
If you’re afraid that praying those dangerous prayers, let me encourage you. It may be painful at first, as God shows you an issue He wants to deal with in your life. But you can trust Him because He has no intention to harm you. After all, He tells us in Jeremiah 29:11-13 NIV: “‘I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.’”
Don’t hold back. Pray those prayers, and open your heart to what God has for you. It may hurt for a while, but in the end, it will be worth it.