There is a Purpose in Your Pain

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Guest Post

by Jeffrey Willems

Does anyone of you like pain? Most people will say no! Some people will even say they hate pain, but I do not believe that is entirely true. I believe people hate pain that has no purpose.

Some people even pay money to experience pain with a purpose. For example: Running in a marathon. Your body goes through tremendous pain and discomfort however you also experience the fulfilment and joy of achieving a goal. Think about pregnancy and childbirth. There is no shortage of pain and discomfort in that process, but we gladly go through with it when we know there is a purpose. Many people pay for gym contracts and work hard to be in shape and build muscle. Now muscle size increases when a person continually challenges the muscles to deal with higher levels of resistance or weight. This process is known as muscle hypertrophy. Muscle hypertrophy occurs when the fibers of the muscles sustain damage or injury. The body repairs damaged fibers by fusing them, which increases the mass and size of the muscles. In other words, if you want big muscles be prepared to suffer pain! Personal trainers will usually use the saying “no pain no gain” to try and motivate you. So, People do not hate pain; they hate pain that has no purpose!

We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. (Romans 5:3-4 NLT)

We don’t rejoice because we are facing trials, but we rejoice knowing that after the trial we will be stronger. Our spiritual muscles would have grown and developed because of the pain. No pain no gain. The stronger we are the more God can use us for His glory. Think of how pain prepared people in the Bible to become great men and women of God. Joseph was rejected by his brothers and sold into slavery in Egypt, he was thrown into prison despite being innocent. However, these painful circumstances had a purpose. They grew him into an excellent leader, and he was able to save many lives during the 7 years of famine in Egypt. Israel is another example, they spent 40 years in the desert. They grew from a nation that never knew God, that always lost faith in him and would grumble and complain to become a strong nation that entered the promised land by conquering 31 kings in order to take possession of the promised land.

None of us enjoy trials and tribulations but God is able to use them for a purpose. Maybe the pain you are going through is preparing you for the next stage of your life. God may be doing something in you before he does something through you.

Dear brothers and sisters, 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. (James 1:2-4 NLT)

I have been through some painful circumstances, both financially and physically and looking back now I can see how God used them to grow me and strengthen my faith in him. Charles Spurgeon said, “I am certain that I never did grow in grace one-half so much anywhere as I have upon the bed of pain.” Even Jesus experienced pain, in fact he faced far more than we ever will. The son of God left his throne and was born in a manger and lived a humble lifestyle. He was mocked, beaten, and even died on a cross! However, his pain had an incredible purpose! It was so that we could be saved from eternal pain.

Life is short and so are the troubles we face. We can take joy knowing that the pain is temporary and that it has a purpose. It can grow us, teach us, prepare us, strengthen us, and equip us for the work God has assigned to us on this earth.

 

God bless you all,

Jeff

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God’s Work in Us

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by Graham Mol

In the Apostle Paul’s letter to the believers in Philippi he says the following:

I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the Gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. (Philippians 1:3-6 NIV)

In saying this Paul points out a very important fact about our development and growth as believers. God is at work in us. “He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Paul said he was confident of this, he knew it to be true, because he had and was experiencing this in his own life. Paul knew that he was a work-in-progress, and at the same time that it was God at work in him shaping him into the image of Jesus. Knowing these two facts about our growth as believers will keep us from the pitfalls of either self-righteous complacency or trying to achieve holiness purely through our own effort.

Work-in-Progress:

We are not perfect, we can pretty much all agree to that. Yet sometimes we settle on how we are as if we were perfect. We accept what we feel is “good enough” and as a result we are less open to being taught, to being rebuked, corrected or trained by God’s very word spoken to us (2 Timothy 3:16). Remembering that we are a work-in-progress as God works in us, helps us to remain humble and willing to grow further in our faith.

God’s Work

On the other hand we can get so consumed by trying to be a better Christian. Trying to do more, be more, achieve more, all in our own strength. We know that God is with us, that He gives us strength to do His will, yet we seem to continue trying to do it ourselves. That only if we can’t achieve it on our own, then we may just ask for help. So often this approach leads to despair for we cannot do it ourselves. We need to remember that “it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill His good purpose,” (Philippians 2:13).

***

Let us be encouraged. God who began a good work in us will carry it on to completion. We’re not perfect, but with the Holy Spirit in us, as we walk in obedience to His will, we will day-by-day grow in our faith and become more like our Saviour, Jesus.

 

God Bless

Graham

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Fearfully and Wonderfully Made

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by Caryl  Moll

Many years ago, as a young mother of two girls, I attended a sculptured cloth-doll-making course. My girls were still small and the “wonder of babies” was uppermost in my mind. I managed to organise to join a group of women on a Tuesday evening to begin our much-anticipated six-week tutorial. 

The atmosphere was alit with anticipation. Our materials included stretchy fabric, polyester stuffing, fur-fabric for the hair, fabric paint, embroidery cotton (for the eyes) and a long needle which was going to be used to ‘sculpt’ the doll and shape its features from the inside-out. Very complicated.

Over the next few days, we cut out the pieces of fabric carefully – specifically according to the pattern and gingerly stitched them together. Then we began the painstaking task of stuffing the dolls and assembling their limbs to enable them to be fully movable.

Once the body was prepared, we began the tricky task of creating the doll’s various features. This was done with a long needle (from the inside, out). It required immense concentration to shape their cheeks, mouth, eyes, dimples, fingers, toes and knees. We even gave them nostrils. Then we added their hair and painted their eyes. I watched, in awe, as each doll seemingly came to life in front of us. It intrigued me that, despite using the exact same pattern for the dolls, they all looked totally different. Each one had its own little ‘personality’. Finally, we placed a tiny white dot in their eyes – ‘to give them light and life’.

It took a long time to craft these dolls. The one in the above photograph was my own personal masterpiece – the smallest of the many I made – and the most cherished. I have admired it over the years and marvelled at the whole process. The truth, however, is that I enjoyed every doll I made. They became symbolic of my own creativity and artistry. In all honesty, I would have loved them no matter what they looked like… I was simply overjoyed that I was able to make them. To be able to create something from “seemingly nothing”.

I cannot help but feel an echo of God’s creativity in our own efforts as human beings. Think about it. Imagine how the Creator must have felt when He had put the final touches on us. He too must have marvelled at the final product and taken delight at how we came to life. I realise that the differences between the Lord’s efforts and mine are hardly comparable, but I am acutely aware that perhaps He felt similar satisfaction at the end of it all.

Consider then how He must have admired His handiwork and marvelled at the vulnerable human being which He held in His hands.  I know that He would have loved us no matter what. Flaws and all! Indeed, He must have enjoyed every bit of His creation. The ultimate feat, however, must have been the life that He breathed into us all – a mystery which has puzzled every scientist and ordinary human being at some stage of their lives. Like any parent, He must have had immense hope for our future. Afterall, He’d put us in charge of everything He’d created on this earth (Genesis 1:29,30). We know that His response was:  

God saw that it was very good.” (Genesis 1:31)

Today, I invite you to join me as I reflect on the magnificence of God’s Creation – all the creatures, plants, animals, insects and, of course, us. Imagine what He must have felt when He sat back and reflected on His handiwork. Perhaps you, too, would like to pause for a moment and simply respond:

“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”
(Psalm 139:14)

With love, in Christ

Caryl

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The Evidence of Being with Jesus

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by Luke Kincaid

I really love the book of Acts. I began reading through it again this morning and came across something which I wanted to share with you today. One day, after being filled with the Holy Spirit, Peter and John healed someone who had asked them for some money. After healing this man we see that Peter preached to those present and this ended up causing a bit of a commotion among the religious leaders of the day:

The next day, their rulers, elders, and scribes assembled in Jerusalem with Annas the high priest, Caiaphas, John, Alexander, and all the members of the high-priestly family. After they had Peter and John stand before them, they began to question them: “By what power or in what name have you done this?” Then Peter was filled with the Holy Spirit and said to them, “Rulers of the people and elders: If we are being examined today about a good deed done to a disabled man, by what means he was healed, 10 let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified and whom God raised from the dead—by him this man is standing here before you healthy. 11 This Jesus is the stone rejected by you builders, which has become the cornerstone.12 There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to people by which we must be saved. 13 When they observed the boldness of Peter and John and realized that they were uneducated and untrained men, they were amazed and recognized that they had been with Jesus.
(Acts 4:5-13)

Verse 13 stood out to me the most and stands out to me every time I read this chapter. We see that there was no doubt that Peter and John knew Jesus. Their boldness and active faith were the proof of the fact that they had been with Jesus and these religious leaders were amazed when they realized that they were uneducated and untrained men. While reading this I thought that this passage was a good illustration what Calven preached on yesterday when he said:

“But here’s the thing, in God’s Kingdom, calling triumphs credentials every time! While it might have become a bit of a cliché, that doesn’t detract from the truth that God doesn’t call the qualified, he qualifies the called. And the litmus test isn’t experience or expertise, it’s availability and teachability.” 

These verses are encouraging to me because it shows us again the truth that every single disciple of Jesus has the opportunity to serve Jesus in a unique and significant way regardless of our circumstances. And when we truly know Jesus there will be evidence of that fact in our lives for others to see because time with Jesus will always be transformative and beneficial for us.

 

Much love,

Luke

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