October 3, 2016
On Thimbles and Pain
I’ve been doing lots of quilting lately. Not the big, gorgeous, intricate quilting like the artists of the craft do. Just small, cute baby quilts. There are six young women in my circle of family and friends “expecting” within the next few months. I am having fun hand-stitching these little crib quilts and thinking of those new little lives that will be warmed by them.
Thimbles are designed to protect your fingertips as you push the sharp needle through the two layers of fabric and warm fluff in between them. You have to stab blindly through those layers and you won’t know you’re through them until the needle hits something else. For me, it’s my middle finger tip on the other hand and, ouch! I’ve never quite mastered keeping the thimble on the tip of that finger, so there it goes and I hope that it’s not so deep that I put a little bit of red on the fabric.
I’ve developed a pretty good callous on that finger by now, but once in a while an over-zealous needle gets me and it is a harsh reminder that I’ve pushed too hard. Pain has a purpose. Always. Even at times when it makes absolutely no sense to us. Sometimes we can protect ourselves from it, sometimes we just can’t. But if something truly beautiful is getting created there is a pretty good chance there will be hurt.
Pain has a purpose. Always. Even at times when it makes absolutely no sense to us.
New life comes with pain. Just ask any woman who has given birth. The baby just can’t come out of her body without it. How we handle pain is as unique as we are and there can be no judgement of ourselves or others as to how it is experienced. All I know is that God cares about our pain because He cares about us. He’s felt our pain and knows we are human. When others can’t, He understands.
I can put a thimble on or choose not to quilt, but how can I create those quilts without risking some pain? You may be faced with pain that will not go away this side of heaven. There are no answers for that other than Jesus. He promises comfort. “I will not leave you comfortless, I will come to you.” (John 14:18)
There was a song I memorized during my last pregnancy, I called it my “labor song” because I sang it in my head during contractions with my youngest daughter. It lasted about one and half minutes and so did they. It goes like this:
“O the blood of the Passover Lamb, is applied to the door of my life,
No power of darkness could ever withstand, the force of the blood sacrifice.
Though Satan will bring accusations, I let him know right where I stand,
For now there is no condemnation, I’m under the blood of the Lamb.
O I’m under the blood of the Lamb that covers the guilt of my past.
By the mercy of God, holy and righteous I stand.
I’m under the blood of the Lamb, safe and secure from the enemy’s plan,
No weapon formed against me will stand. I’m under the blood of the Lamb.”
After 41 weeks and about five and half hours of hard work, I got to see this beautiful, lavender and pink screaming, chubby baby and my heart just about burst. Glory! At that point the pain meant nothing. And that is how I think we will feel when we see Jesus. The Author and Finisher of our faith. (Hebrews 12:2)
Of course, if you’re reading this, you’re not there yet and it’s hard and you’re tired. Rest in His Word. Find and sing a “labor song” and trust Him day by day or minute by minute if you have to. He loves you and will be with you. As much as we wish He would just take the pain away, it could be birthing in us something so beautiful and glorious that we have just not seen yet. I won’t tell you to just “hang in there” because that sounds too much like you can make it on your own effort. And what you’re going through is too hard for you. “Hope in Him” seems like a better saying because He always keeps His promises and has your best outcome planned. (Jeremiah 29:11)