If there is one thing that we can all agree on, it’s that pain is bad! We do everything we can to avoid it and when it can’t be avoided we deal with it as quickly as possible and then do our best to move on. But what if we changed how we look at pain? What if our perspective shifted from viewing all pain as bad to understanding that even though we don’t prefer it, painful experiences can produce something good and helpful?
In what seems to be a very contradictory passage of the Bible, the Apostle James makes this very point. James 1:2-3 says it this way:
My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; 3 Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. 4 But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.
James is saying here, in essence, we should find joy in the struggles because it is through struggle that we learn patience and through patience that we become fully what we were created to be! Only as our faith is tried and the unexcepted and painful are experienced can we grow into deep, steadfast, hope-filled followers of Christ.
Another well known Apostle said it this way in First Peter 1:6-7:
Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: 7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perishes, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:
Peter, a man who understood what it is to experience pain in this this life, said that we should value what pain produces more than we value gold! Why? Because riches will come and go but a life that grows through pain and difficulty is a life that will be lived to glorify God!
So what should our takeaways from all of this be:
- Pain is not bad, it is just a part of life.
- Pain should not be avoided BUT it should also not be pursued for the sake of pain itself. Pain is only valuable if it is used to produce something good.
- If we want to grow in our lives, relationships, finances, etc., we will have to confront and learn from pain.
- Perhaps the single biggest reason people stop moving forward when something hard happens is because they just don’t want to deal with the pain anymore. They know WHAT to do and may even know HOW to do it but would rather avoid the pain than push to the place they know they should be.
- God created each of us for a purpose. Pain stands in the way of accomplishing that purpose. If we confront it we can fulfill our created purpose but if we won’t, then we won’t. The good thing is that we get to decide. The hard thing is that WE have to decide. No one can do it for us.
- Most people are so invested in comfortable, pain-free living that they will never understand the freedom that comes from confronting pain, learning from it and growing into spiritual and emotional maturity. They will instead remain slaves to something that only has they power that they give it.
I cannot know what you may be dealing with in your life. None of this is to say that pain is not really painful or that we can motivate our way past our hurts and trials. Pain is called that for a reason. We must realize, however, that only when we confront the pain and allow God to use it as a refining fire in our lives can we ever really move forward! Its not fair. It shouldn’t have happened. I can’t explain it. BUT, the pain that we encounter in this life WILL be used to grow us into the person that God has created us to be.
But only if we see it as a tool for growth instead of something to be avoided at all costs.
Change your perspective on pain and you will change your future!
Photo by Imre Tömösvári on Unsplash