This post is dedicated to all of those I know who are weary in their suffering and difficulty (and yes, sometimes that includes me, too!).
Who wants to suffer? Who wants to go toward pain? No one in their right mind wants that unless they are masochistic. But there is a curious challenge that we, as Christians, are given all throughout the New Testament. In Philippians 4:4 the Bible says,
“Rejoice always . . .”
In James 1:2 it says,
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers (and sisters), whenever you face trials of many kinds, . .”
In Romans 5:3ff it tells us why we should rejoice,
“We also rejoice in our sufferings because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit . . .”
I think we often miss the key we need when we are pounded by the storm. I know that I do not want to “rejoice” when I am suffering. All I want to do is ask, “Why, Lord?” I want to find an escape. I want Him to make my life easier. But that is not what we are called to experience, if we are following Christ.
If I rejoiced in my suffering it wouldn’t be because I am in pain. If I rejoiced it would be because God is doing something in me that He cannot do when I am at ease. I would be rejoicing because rejoicing builds my trust in Him, and puts to death the “me” I don’t want to be. I become His beautiful new creation.*
Remember that even a caterpillar needs the struggle of pushing out of the cocoon in order to have the strength to fly as a butterfly. We need the struggle too. We need the pain, but we also need to rejoice or we will be consumed by our pain.
If you are experiencing God chipping away the rough edges in your life—or even jack-hammering the foundation—then lift up your eyes and rejoice. God is still good, loving and a Savior even in your pain, especially in the pain.
* “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!”
(All Bible verses are quoted from the New International Version)