Psalm 30:5 NCV
Pain is an inevitable part of life and growth, and sometimes it can be beneficial. Let’s take a look at why it can be helpful:
1) It can let us know there’s something wrong that needs to be put right.
2) It makes us acknowledge there’s a problem.
3) It encourages us to seek help to put things right.
4) It makes us willing to accept treatment that we might find uncomfortable so we can be made whole again.
It sounds strange, but the more we dread and resist any pain we’re feeling, the more its effect on us increases, and the stronger it becomes. When we’re being treated for something that’s physically painful, a doctor will often tell us to ‘breathe’ and ‘relax’. The more we fight the pain, the more we’ll be hurt. This can apply to emotional pain too. If we try to ignore how we’re feeling and pretend we’re okay, the hurt just builds up inside us and wears us down.
When we experience pain, whether it’s emotional or physical, we shouldn’t try to ignore, hide, or fight it. We need to walk through it and allow it to accomplish its purpose. The Bible says: ‘When troubles…come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy…when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing’ (James 1:2-4 NLT).
Painful experiences can bring all kinds of opportunities for learning, developing our character, and growing our trust in God. So when pain comes our way, let’s take a breath, relax, and walk through it with God by our side.
Gen 13-16; Matt 17:1-13; Ps 40:1-8; Prov 6:1-5
Psalm 30:5 NKJV
Pain is an inevitable part of life and growth; a beneficial part! Stop and consider some of its benefits:
(1) It lets you know when there’s something wrong in your body that needs to be made right.
(2) It forces you to acknowledge a condition you didn’t know about; one that could potentially claim your life.
(3) It makes you rearrange your priorities and your schedule and seek help.
(4) It makes you willing to submit to treatment you may not enjoy, believing that it will make you whole.
Are you getting the idea? Strange as it may seem, the more you dread and resist the pain, the more you increase the effect it has on you. What we resist persists, and the more pain is resisted, the stronger it becomes.
When a pregnant woman goes into labor, the advice she generally gets from her medical team is to “relax.” They know the more she fights the pain, the stronger it will become and the longer the delivery process will take. So when you are experiencing pain, don’t fight it. Walk through it and allow it to accomplish its purpose.
The Bible says: “When troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know…when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing” (James 1:2-4 NLT).
So the word for you today is – learn to endure this season of pain, knowing that God has promised you joy on the other side of it!
Soul food: Gen 13-16; Matt 17:1-13; Ps 40:1-8; Prov 6:1-5
Revelation 2:7 NKJV
Nothing becomes great until it overcomes something. Paul writes, “For a great…door has opened to me, and there are many adversaries” (1 Corinthians 16:9 NKJV). Great doors of opportunity come with great challenges, and those challenges will stretch your faith. If outstanding success came easy, everybody would have it. But if everybody had it, then it wouldn’t be outstanding success. How does a caterpillar develop into a butterfly? By overcoming the cocoon. Would it be easier to stay in the comfort of the cocoon? Some days the struggle is so great that the caterpillar probably thinks so. But the price of freedom, flight, and discovery, is struggle, development, and breakthrough. There is no other way. Why did Jesus send His disciples into the storm on the Sea of Galilee? To teach them to trust Him in every situation of life. Soon He’d be leaving them, so He used different experiences to equip them for the future. What are you trying to overcome today? Instead of complaining about it, or asking God to take it away, try to see it as preparation for the thing He has called you to do. Read these Scriptures. “Blessed is the man who endures temptation” (James 1:12 NKJV). “To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life.” “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:10 NKJV). “Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good” (Romans 12:21). “Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil” (Ephesians 6:11). Today you’re called to be an overcomer.
Soul food: Acts 12-13; Luke 9:1-17; Ps 65; Prov 16:8-9
James 1:2 NLT
When difficulties come to us in life and in our relationships, as they inevitably will, it’s easy to succumb to the “dominoes of despair.” First, we become disappointed with an event or relationship. Then as the trial lingers, we topple into discouragement and surrender our expectations that things will change. Finally, as we feel the impossibility of moving the object against which we lean, we succumb to the last domino of despair. We feel powerless and hopeless, and don’t know how to see our way clear. Instead of running our life’s race, it feels like we’re swimming below the surface in an ocean of Jell-O. Often when we can’t understand life’s circumstances, we limit our expectations of who God is and what He can do. We think there’s only one good outcome – the one we want! Instead, we need to trust our heavenly Father because He may have bigger and better things in mind. We must try to see Him at work in whatever trials come our way. Remember, God’s expectations are bigger than our own, and only our heavenly Father and His purposes, no matter how painful they seem at the moment, truly satisfy our souls. James writes: “Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing” (vv. 2-4 NLT). Keep that truth uppermost in your mind today, and you won’t give in to despair.
Soul food: 1 Kings 8-9; Mark 12:28-44; Ps 113; Prov 12:15-17
James 1:2 NLT
When difficulties come to us in life and in our relationships, we have a choice. We can either go down the path of despair, or the path of hope. The first path takes us from disappointment to discouragement, then to despair. We feel powerless and hopeless, and we don’t know how things will ever get better. If we’re honest, we can often find ourselves heading down that path, especially if we’ve been struggling for a long time. But in Romans 5, we find an alternative path. It says, ‘suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope’ (vv.3-4 NIV). In order to choose this path, we need to trust that God will stay with us in the hard times, and that He’ll bring something good from them. The Bible says, ‘in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose’ (Romans 8:28 NIV). Often when we can’t understand life’s circumstances, we limit our expectations of who God is and what He can do. But we must try to see Him at work in any trials that come our way. And more than that, we need to rejoice in our times of trouble. This may seem too difficult, or even an impossibility, but James writes, ‘when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing’ (vv.2-4 NLT). When we remember the amazing things God can do in and through us while we’re facing trials, it’s easier to have joy, trust in Him, and choose the path which leads to hope.
1 Kings 8-9; Mark 12:28-44; Ps 113; Prov 12:15-17