Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Not in Vain

Romans 8:28
"And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those that love God, to those who are called according to His purpose."

I have struggled with chronic pain since I was a child. Over the years, I have had my good phrases and bad phases, the moments of asking "why?" and the moments of sharing God's goodness in the midst of the pain. The phrase, "This, too, shall pass" used to be my mantra - especially during the worst of the pain. That precise phrase isn't in the Bible, though it says something similar: "...weeping may last for the night, but a shout of joy comes in the morning" (Psalm 30:5) and "For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal." (2 Corinthians 4:17-18) What these verses have over the phrase is a specific hope of WHAT (or Who) is in the future, rather than a simple focus on this moment passing. "This, too, shall pass" seems to place its hope in the fact that the moment will pass rather than on our eternal hope in Christ. 

That eternal hope in Christ is what brings me to thankfulness for my pain, because God wastes nothing; my pain is not in vain. Christ uses my pain not only in my life, but also in the lives of others. He is growing me, and more and more I am learning how to give Him the glory He is due. It can be difficult to be thankful for pain, but the more I focus on Christ and His truths, the easier it becomes. In today's society, we are taught to avoid pain if at all possible, but sometimes, pain is worth it and can even be good. Christ knows this better than anyone - it is why He chose to take our punishment upon Himself. 

I rejoice, not in the fact that it hurts, but in Christ's Victory - that He will use the pain for His glory and the good of His children. May the Lord's will be first in my life, as it was in Christ's!

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