For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd;
he will lead them to springs of living water.
And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes."
Revelation 7:17 (NIV)

It's so odd what sometimes triggers our memories. The trigger can seem unrelated as it is opens up a memory from long ago. Today I found myself observing an elderly gentleman walk through the door of my library with an awkward gait. The years had changed the man's face so that I could not tell what he might have looked like in his youth. As I glanced downward to understand what made his walk unusual, I noticed that both of his feet were completely turned outward as he went forward. I wondered at how he had run when he was young. I imagined that he had received more than his share of teasing and bullying over something that he, heartbreakingly, could do nothing about. The man was in and out of my vision within thirty seconds or less, but his brief presence started me remembering my own private pain from long ago.

I have had a running conversation with my children about the reason for pain. I do not pretend to know the answer to a dilemma of the human condition that is thousands and thousands of years old. While I do not understand all the reasons for pain, I do know that all of us have experienced its fierce cruelty. Why did God make some healthy in both mind and body while others live a life imprisoned in the shell of flesh given them?

What really is being handicapped, my dear sister? The Bible's definition of being handicapped is vastly different from what my human understanding has led me to believe. A physical or mental handicap is not a detriment at all to being whole in the eyes of my Jesus. We can be trapped in a body of pain and be the healthiest we have ever been because all is well with our soul. If our pain is the catalyst which God is using to change us into the image of His beloved Son, Jesus Christ, than we are well. If God has not given us a mind which can fathom great mysteries and knowledge, but we love Him with our whole heart, than we are among the wisest who have ever walked this earth, regardless of our I.Q.

Why do we look for others' approval to feel our need for significance? We will be disappointed every time we crave the praise of others. We are accepted in the Beloved Son of our Abba, my darling friend. One day, we will face the One who is keeping score--the One who bottles our every tear and has written each one down in His book. One day, our heavenly Father is going to wipe away all tears caused by the pain He ordained in our lives to bring Him glory. Oh, my girlfriends! Have we missed the reason for the pain? You see, our pain is not to harm us. It is to help us become conformed to our Jesus. Let's stop clutching it and start asking our Jesus how we can use those painful experiences in our lives to do His work among others. The bleeding of the wound will stop and our healing will then begin!

Jesus, You are my good Shepherd. Your purpose for my pain is NEVER to be cruel to me. Your purpose for my pain is to help rub off those jagged edges that hurt others, give me an empathy, and the right to speak into the life of another person in agony. I ask you to remove the scales from my eyes. Heal me so that my scars can bring You glory.