Ecclesiastes 2:22-24 (NLT)
So what do people get in this life for all their hard work and anxiety? Their days of labor are filled with pain and grief; even at night their minds cannot rest. It is all meaningless. So I decided there is nothing better than to enjoy food and drink and to find satisfaction in work. Then I realized that these pleasures are from the hand of God.
Life is pain full. I wish that I could be optimistic that pain will end, but it will not end as long as the earth continues to rotate on its axis. Pain without purpose produces bitterness. Like working without satisfaction, it gnaws away at the inside of us. As days of “labor” drag on, we become so filled with pain and grief that our night are spent tossing and turning because our mind refuses to rest. It all seems meaningless. Even to Christians who have answered the call to Christ are sidetracked by the painful problems of this life. Where is the new life we are promised? Everything seems the same. The Lord wants to produce promises from your pain. He want to satisfy you in everything you do. It is all part of a process called the disciplined life.
When I was pregnant with our fourth child, she decided to take her time arriving. Her due date came and went uneventfully. We were ready for her arrival. We did everything we could think of to make labor begin. Frustrated, my husband commented, “I am beginning to think there is no baby in there.” Completely joking as he knew just as well as I did that she was in there, the next day labor began. The beginning of labor may take your breath away but because you are ready to meet your new baby it is manageable. But by the time you are in transition, usually moments before delivery, most moms are ready to give up and quit. It hurts. It is uncomfortable. You are over it. We had our fourth child at home. I remember going in the bathroom at this particular stage and having a frank conversation with myself in the mirror. What was I thinking? With three other children, I knew that I needed drugs to get through this. Why would I put myself through this? I don’t want to do this anymore. Forget it, I quit. Then it dawned on me. An aha-moment if you will, I was about to meet my precious daughter for the very first time. If I could just “push” through the pain, I would fall in love all over again. Suddenly, new energy came over me and I was ready to go!
Romans 8:20-23 (NLT)
Against its will, all creation was subjected to God’s curse. But with eager hope, the creation looks forward to the day when it will join God’s children in glorious freedom from death and decay. For we know that all creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. And we believers also groan, even though we have the Holy Spirit within us as a foretaste of future glory, for we long for our bodies to be released from sin and suffering. We, too, wait with eager hope for the day when God will give us our full rights as his adopted children, including the new bodies he has promised us.
It is painful to bring a new life into this world. I have not met a woman yet who will say that labor and delivery are not painful processes. I also haven’t encountered the mother of a newborn who remember how painful it was compared to the love they have for that new baby. I know it was painful but childbirth is so fulfilling we process it differently because of its worth. We are called to be new creations in Christ. He has promised to make all things new but we refuse to allow the process of change in our life. Until we take the time to discover the Promises of God for our life, we will never invest the energy or effort into getting them here. I am not exactly sure how God creates another human being inside my belly. I know the science of it. But as He molds and shapes a tiny person in me, my body knows how to nurture this Creation until it is time to come forth. God made my body to do so. When it is time to give birth, my hormones are instinctually released to begin the process and at just the right time I feel the urge to push that baby out. When you became a believer, every purpose of God came alive inside of you. Now it is up to you to labor and birth those things into existence. There is pain in giving birth and the sooner you develop confident hope the sooner the pain will become worth it. Pain in childbirth is worth every second when you feel that baby in your arms. Pain in your process as you embrace the Glory of God in your life.
2 Corinthians 7:8-10 (NLT)
I am not sorry that I sent that severe letter to you, though I was sorry at first, for I know it was painful to you for a little while. Now I am glad I sent it, not because it hurt you, but because the pain caused you to repent and change your ways. It was the kind of sorrow God wants his people to have, so you were not harmed by us in any way. For the kind of sorrow God wants us to experience leads us away from sin and results in salvation. There’s no regret for that kind of sorrow. But worldly sorrow, which lacks repentance, results in spiritual death.
It appears that Paul coined the phrase “sorry not sorry” used by young people today. His first letter to the Corinthians really ticked some people off. However, in their frustration, anger and offense many began to bear fruit in their lives once again. So Paul says, “I am sorry that the letter hurt your feelings, but I am not sorry because it produced change in you.” Pain leads to repentance. We rethink and revisit our steps leading to the trauma we are experiencing. Our first inclination is to find our own fault in the matter. Second, we look for someone else to blame. This a pivotal point in the process of redemption. This is the climax of our salvation. What we do in the midst of repentance means everything! To be sorry for our sin, but do nothing about it leads to spiritual death. To begin the labor process and not finish it leads to natural death. God does not want your dream to die inside of your. He does not want your purpose to end before it begins. He will do whatever it takes to turn this thing around even if it causes pain and trouble in our lives. Resistance produces pain. Trouble is produced in conflict. When we repent, it means to turn around. We align our life with God so there is no longer resistance and sorrow will turn to joy. Leaving sin behind, there is no longer a conflict to be resolved so we walk in His Grace and Unfailing Love. Even in the midst of trials in this life, we can live in the peace and joy of His Spirit if we choose to repent in the midst of our pain.
Hebrews 12:11-14 (NLT)
No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening—it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way. So take a new grip with your tired hands and strengthen your weak knees. Mark out a straight path for your feet so that those who are weak and lame will not fall but become strong. Work at living in peace with everyone, and work at living a holy life, for those who are not holy will not see the Lord.
To be teachable require humility. Repentance is to humble ourselves before the Lord. Now before you get all mad or your knickers in a twist, I am in no way implying that God is punishing us with pain. He does not have a reason to punish the righteous. But God is our Father and will discipline us. Discipline is teaching. It is training for improvement. Pain is produced in resistance. For example, when a family member get sick and then does not recover naturally it produces pain. What we do with that pain determines the outcome. Pain that is allowed to fester in our heart without producing anything become bitterness. If you have pain it is to be surrendered to Jesus Christ. Why? Isn’t He the One who allowed me to be hurt? Really? “He was despised and rejected—a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief. We turned our backs on him and looked the other way. He was despised, and we did not care. Yet it was our weaknesses he carried; it was our sorrows that weighed him down. And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God, a punishment for his own sins! But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed. All of us, like sheep, have strayed away. We have left God’s paths to follow our own. Yet the LORD laid on him the sins of us all.” (Isaiah 53:3-6) Jesus Christ made the way for our pain to become joy and our trouble to turn to triumph. Sorrows will last only for the night, but when we scoop up His New Mercy the next morning it turns to joy!
John 16:20-24 (NLT)
I tell you the truth, you will weep and mourn over what is going to happen to me, but the world will rejoice. You will grieve, but your grief will suddenly turn to wonderful joy. It will be like a woman suffering the pains of labor. When her child is born, her anguish gives way to joy because she has brought a new baby into the world. So you have sorrow now, but I will see you again; then you will rejoice, and no one can rob you of that joy. At that time you won’t need to ask me for anything. I tell you the truth, you will ask the Father directly, and he will grant your request because you use my name. You haven’t done this before. Ask, using my name, and you will receive, and you will have abundant joy.
John 16:33 (NLT)
“I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”
What are you doing with your pain today? Are you harboring it like a fugitive from justice? The Lord wants to change our sorrow into joy. However, if remain offended by the trials and troubles in our life we will never release the pain to become prosperous. Look at Jabez in I Chronicles 4:9-10, the details of his birth so horrific that his mother called him a pain. Now I am not going to say that I would not have done the same thing if we named our kids when they became teenagers, but we don’t. Jabez decided that his life would not be marked as pain so he asked the Lord to bless him, expand his territory, remain with him, and keep me from all trouble and pain. Though you will have trials in this life, God will turn that pain into promises and you will triumph over your troubles by faith that puts confident hope in God’s Plan and not your current set of circumstances. While you are planting seeds of faith, the enemy is sowing seeds of discontentment and bitterness. We must be the ones who decide if our life will be marked by pain or hope. We have a taste of His Glory as His Spirit lives inside of us. It is up to us to decide whether we will allow pain to mark our life or faith to produce victory to God’s Glory. “Those who have been ransomed by the LORD will return. They will enter Jerusalem singing, crowned with everlasting joy. Sorrow and mourning will disappear, and they will be filled with joy and gladness.” (Isaiah 35:10) We have been on a painful journey with our son for the last three years. In the hospital last week, I watched him sleeping and my heart was becoming bitter. I could feel the cold creeping in. How much longer until your Word comes to pass God? You said, “He will live and not die.” Then it occurred to me, I am quite certain that it was the Holy Spirit that said to me, “Well, he is alive.” Cancer is an temporary in our son’s life. The faith and confident hope that the Lord is producing through this pain is priceless and forever. I do not believe that God gave him cancer to teach us a lesson or punish us for something any of us has done or not done for that matter. But I believe what we are witnessing is God using our problem to produce His Promises in our life. He promises to make good of every detail in our life including this nasty interruption called cancer. My job in this fight is for the faith to leave bitterness behind and embrace confident hope. His Grace does not exempt us from the pain and suffering of this world but rather allows us to triumph over every single one. (I Peter 4:1-2)
Psalm 73:13-14 (NLT)
Did I keep my heart pure for nothing? Did I keep myself innocent for no reason? I get nothing but trouble all day long; every morning brings me pain.
Psalm 73:21-26 (NLT)
Then I realized that my heart was bitter, and I was all torn up inside. I was so foolish and ignorant—I must have seemed like a senseless animal to you. Yet I still belong to you; you hold my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, leading me to a glorious destiny. Whom have I in heaven but you? I desire you more than anything on earth. My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart; He is mine forever.
In Psalm 73, David is lamenting to the Lord about the wicked prospering while his life seemed to be falling apart. He realized that he was bitter. Bitterness is produced when we harbor our pain rather than allowing God to make something useful of it. When we give up the insult and injury of being inconvenienced by such things and take hold of hope, we will prosper in every situation even the most painful ones. When the promise comes, pain is validated as worth it and filed away under experience. Grace becomes totally sufficient in our complete weakness. Surrendering our pain to Jesus Christ for satisfaction and fulfillment allows us to triumph over our pain and prosper in life. There is no need to worry that your suffering went unnoticed and tears disregarded. Nothing is further from the truth. God gathered every tear in a bottle and wrote every sorrow in His Book. (Psalm 56:8) He will make good on His Promise to make it right. We have the profound privilege to rise above the pain and suffering of this life to experience the Glory of God both now and forever. Don’t let pain and bitterness keep you from His Blessing, enlarged territories (His Prosperity/Favor), His Presence, and His Deliverance. The joy and peace that the Lord has reserved for you can never be taken from you. It is worth having. Faith will produce the confident hope necessary to see past these light and momentary troubles even traumas to triumph through them all! Let go of pain and hold on to His Promises!
Revelation 21:3-7 (NLT)
I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, “Look, God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them. He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.” And the one sitting on the throne said, “Look, I am making everything new!” And then he said to me, “Write this down, for what I tell you is trustworthy and true.” And he also said, “It is finished! I am the Alpha and the Omega—the Beginning and the End. To all who are thirsty I will give freely from the springs of the water of life. All who are victorious will inherit all these blessings, and I will be their God, and they will be my children.