Finding Joy in Pain

What has the toughest, most grueling time of your life?  Perhaps it was a time of financial hardship, or a time when you lost your job.  Maybe it was a time when relationships you thought were close were strained because someone you love did something to hurt you.  Perhaps a co-worker stabbed you in the back.  Or maybe you did something to hurt another  person.  Maybe that time was a season of illness.  Maybe it was when someone close to you died.  Would you describe these as a times of joy?

Jesus’ brother, James, wrote in the Bible that we should consider our various trials to be joys.  Look at what he says:

Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials,  knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.  And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing (James 1:2-4, NAU).

It seems crazy to think that joy can come from pain.  But James wrote that when faith is tested the result is endurance.  The end result of endurance is maturity.  With that maturity comes wisdom.

So many times we feel like God has abandoned us when we are hurting, but what we don’t realize is that he’s helping us to become the very best that we can be.  It takes time, heat, and pressure for a lump of coal to become a diamond.  Gold has to be refined in heat before the impurities can be filtered out.  A butterfly needs to struggle to get out of the cocoon before it can be strong enough to fly.  It takes time, exercise, and pain for a unused muscle to become strong and healthy. We’ve all heard it before:  “No Pain, No Gain.”   You’ve got to give to get.  How could we truly appreciate God’s blessings if we never had to deal with hardships?  If you and are to I reach our potential in life we must see beyond the trials and strive to understand how they will improve us.  Let’s be people who are determined to patiently look for the good in our struggles.