Difficult paths?

My friend, may I ask you a question? Is there a side to pain that is good? Could God be using that pain to bring about something good in us? Or, is pain just one more consequence of sin and we’ll just have to grin and bear it?

My friend, life's a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I'm Mark Brunner.

How far will you go to avoid pain? Everyday we do little things to get around pain and its consequences. We handle a piece of rough wood with our hands and put on a pair of gloves to avoid splinters. I like to work on the weight bench in the morning, so I wear a pair of wristbands to help support my wrists. Or, perhaps, like me you have a bit of arthritis so you make sure that you take a couple of aspirins with your morning breakfast anticipating pain. We avoid the pain. That makes common sense. But, if we we’re to approach life from that footing, that everything we did or felt had to be insulated from pain, wouldn’t each of us be one huge walking bandage from foot to toe? When painful things happen in our lives, we usually want God to do a removing job; to keep us safe from the pain. Like a little child we look up to Him and ask, “Will it hurt?” Often times when the answer is “Yes,” our reaction is sorrow, not joy that God Himself is there, supervising the hurt.

Is there a side to pain that is good? Could God be actively using that pain to bring about something good in us? Or, is pain just one more consequence of sin and we’ll just have to grin and bear it?

Oswald Chambers writes. “If you are going to be used by God, He will take you through a number of experiences that are not meant for you personally at all. They are designed to make you useful in His hands, and to enable you to understand what takes place in the lives of others. . . . Are we partakers of Christ’s sufferings? Are we prepared for God to stamp out our personal ambitions? Are we prepared for God to destroy our individual decisions by supernaturally transforming them? It will mean not knowing why God is taking us that way, because knowing would make us spiritually proud. We never realize at the time what God is putting us through—we go through it more or less without understanding. Then suddenly we come to a place of enlightenment, and realize—“God has strengthened me and I didn’t even know it!” (My Utmost For His Highest, November 5)

The Apostle Peter writes: “But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed" (1 Peter 4:13). When painful things happen in our lives, rather than asking God to do a removing job, perhaps we need to be looking to Him to do an improving job. It is often said “To realize the worth of the anchor, it must feel the storm.” As followers of Christ we should look upon pain as a possibility, not merely a hardship. When we are so disposed to suffer, there is a foothold to faith that lies before us, just like a difficult path up a steep hillside. Our task is to walk the painful path, get a footing and rise above the pain to find the joy of hope in Jesus Christ. The cool thing about persevering in this manner is that God always provides a moment when we realize that despite the pain, there is the comfort that somehow we got through it without even knowing how we did it. Jesus never avoided pain but used it; and like our Big Brother, if we take His hand when difficult paths present themselves and watch our footing, we’ll make it to the top with him every time.

We pray. Heavenly Father, thank you for giving us joy even when we are feeling the deep pain of physical as well as emotional hurt in our lives. Help us to remember Lord that pain is as much a part of your plan for us as pleasure, perhaps more. Our job is to endure, understand and walk bravely and confidently in the footprints of our Savior. In Jesus name we pray. Amen!

Therefore my friend, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry for itself; each day has enough trouble of its own. (Matt 6:34) This Passing Day. May this passing day honor our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and be a blessing to you and everyone you meet. Find a stranger and say hello. Don't let another day pass without your day blessing someone else.

If you have a special prayer request, please send your request to "This Passing Day!" <markcbrunner@thispassingday.com> God bless you for Jesus sake.

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