Monday, October 31, 2011
This old cliche is so often heard throughout our lives, from childhood to adulthood. From learning to walk, riding a bike, running a race or any other endeavor that we consider worthy of a prize in the end. We aim and fire with astounding determination to achieve that prize.
But what about the pain that is inflicted upon us that we don't chose to bear and know of no gain? We've all been there. Hurt, rejected, abandoned, abused & losing a loved one. And in this declining economy, we are losing our jobs and our homes. What do we do with that kind of pain and what do we strive for to get through it?
I've been through a wide variety of hardships in my lifetime and they've had many degrees of pain, from "ouch" to "awful", even "unbearable". But I've never gone through anything that didn't result in something valuable. Things like wisdom, success, freedom, gratefulness, my children and true love. I can honestly say that I'm so grateful for all the things that have caused me pain, for I've gained much from them.
How can we ever become wise without first making painful mistakes?
How can we become successful without going through many failures?
How can become free if we have never been in bondage?
And how can we find love, without experiencing apathy?
How can we be appreciative, if we've never gone without?
How can we define value, without knowing the cost?
We are certain to face something. I can guarantee we will face hardships with no visual prize in sight. But just because we can't see it, doesn't mean we should lose faith in its existence. That's where faith comes in. Faith in the promise that God restores. God blesses those who put their trust in Him. Pain leads us to our need for restoration and if we let it, it will lead us to the Healer. Without it, we may never see our need for God.
So, what do we do with our pain? We can become grateful for it and let it change us. We can persevere and let it build our character. We can turn to God and let Him give us hope. I can't imagine who I'd be today without ever having gone through hardships. I would have never realized my need for God and I would have missed out on so many blessings. I might never have had my beautiful children or my amazing husband. I have gained so much.
James 1:2-4 "Consider it pure joy, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. And let perseverance finish its work in you so that you may be mature and complete".