LATJ: The Faith Connection

15 09 2009

“No pain, no gain”. We’ve all heard this phrase, commonly used in workouts to express the idea that if we aren’t feeling any pain then we aren’t working out hard enough and we’re not growing stronger. Pain is the body’s way of telling you that something is not quite as it should be. It acts as a warning system to tell you that it wants you to change your behavior. When we workout our bodies to a controlled level of pain we are actually making our bodies stronger in the long run.

Applied to our spiritual growth, pain and problems can be very beneficial to us. They can also destroy us. What makes the difference is our response to the situation. If we turn to ourselves to resolve the problem then we are limited to our own resources. Often times we don’t end up resolving the problem but instead masking it with something else or accepting the situation and never addressing it. On the other hand, when we turn to God we have access to unlimited resources and wisdom. God is interested in our spiritual growth and development. We tend to focus on the here and now, but God is looking long term and sometimes the only way to get our attention is to allow a situation or issue to come into our life (whether by the consequences of our choices or by God’s direction).

In this chapter, Jack says “without pain and difficulty in life, people tend to think of themselves as self-sufficient without a need for God. They, too, become numb to their true needs.” The pain and difficulties should draw us toward God and ultimately into a closer relationship with him, which is what he wants. Hebrews 12:10-11 says “For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them, but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of HIs holiness. Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.” Whether we need correction or whether God is preparing us for another assignment, we need to realize that God’s ways are simply beyond our understanding. Have faith!

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