Pain on purpose.
Dear brothers and sisters,[a] when troubles of any kind 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.
I’m going to say something controversial. I am going to say something that any Christian, wholesome, pastors’ kid should never ever say, something that they shouldn’t even think but I’m going to be honest with you. There are some verses of scripture that get right on my nerves. Now, before you click off, this is not a heretical post
, just hang with me. Surely, I can’t be the only one? There are just some scriptures I do not want to read. I shall proceed to give you some examples…
1) ‘Worry about nothing, instead, pray about everything…’ found in Philippians, this verse grates on me a little because my simple response is HOW? HOW GOD AM I SUPPOSED TO WORRY ABOUT NOTHING? Its not realistic, and it does my head in.
2) ‘I delight in my weakness, hardships, insults, persecutions and difficulties, for when I am weak then I am strong…’ found in Corinthians, this just reads ridiculous. Again, my question is HOW? THIS IS NOT REALISTIC. NOBODY DELIGHTS IN WEAKNESS. NO ONE. Stop it.
But out of all the scriptures in the entire bible, the living word of God, there is one scripture that takes the title, no questions asked. That scripture is James 1:2-4. ‘Dear brothers and sisters,[a] when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. 3 For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. 4 So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.’
WHAT? Unless I have read wrong. This scripture is suggesting that when things hurt me, when I’m facing troubles, when I’m down, anxious, depressed, oppressed and at the end of my rope, I should consider it an opportunity for joy. I understand this post has been a little negative up to this point, (forgive me I’m venting) I love God, with everything I have, I believe him at his word and I know he has a plan and a purpose for my life. I am fully convinced that he hurts when I hurt. But sometimes I feel like he wants too much from me. The requirements in the scriptures I’ve listed above are genuinely impossible on my own. I think its okay to feel like that, I think on some level we all do.
But there is this nagging inside me, that knows there’s more to these scriptures than my pain and my hurt will allow me to see. This feeling is compelling me to recognise something I could do with paying more attention to… Maybe my pain is not about me. Let that sink in for a second. Maybe your pain is about more than you. There’s a bigger picture. Have you ever thought that maybe God actually trusts you with what you’re going through? He knows that you’ll stay with Him, He knows that its not going to take you out, and the absolute best part? He completely trusts that when you are through it at the other side, you will help others that are walking through what you just have.
So, I’m setting you a challenge, one that I’m also setting myself. Keep going, keep pushing through. Consider it joy. Think that you getting through this fire, means someone has a path to follow while they’re walking through it too. Try and focus your mind on what God is trusting you with. God doesn’t cause pain, to think that God allows us to walk through these situations as a punishment is bad theology, Jesus took all out punishment from now until eternity. However, the world we live in is broken, and unfortunately, we get caught in the collateral damage. Trust how good he is that he would actually bring GOOD out of the hardest situations you’ve ever had to face, just because He loves you that much. You’re part of a bigger plan, God is trusting you to keep going and to finish strong.
The last part of that picture says that trials perfect your faith. I think what’s so beautiful about that is that our faith may not be perfected while we are here on earth. Maybe not in this life, but one day when all is said and done, and we are in unspeakable paradise with the one who loves us more than we could ever begin to understand, it will all make sense. Our faith in Him, will be perfect one day we will fully understand. But until then, trust in the one that parted the heavens to come and get you. He knows what He’s doing.