Monday, November 1, 2010

No Pain No Gain

Dear Reader,
Today's post is from a pastor who's also been widowed--he knows what it's like. Part of the way he cares for his church and family is to send out daily e-mails of encouragement and exhortation, which I'm fortunate enough to receive, too. I'd like to share this one with you in which he talks about “No pain…no gain.”
We should have no expectation that the Christian life will be without painful experiences…including physical, emotional, relational, financial. In the devotional book, My Utmost for His Highest, (June 25), Oswald Chambers points this out:
We say that there ought to be no sorrow,
but there is sorrow, and we have to accept and receive ourselves in its fires.
If we try to evade sorrow, refusing to deal with it, we are foolish.
Sorrow is one of the biggest facts in life, and there is no use in saying it should not be.

But then, he points out something that may come as a surprise to some of you:
Sin, sorrow, and suffering are,
and it is not for us to say that God has made a mistake in allowing them.

God does not make a mistake when He allows sorrow or pain in our lives. Something happens to us during those dreaded times; we come to an end of ourselves and learn what it means to depend upon God…His faithfulness…His power…His love. We wish this weren’t the case but …no pain no gain is the mantra of the growing, useful Christian. I’ve noticed something through the years: the people who God uses most efficaciously are the ones He has allowed to be hurt most deeply.

Oswald Chambers sees the same thing:
You can always recognize who has been through the fires of sorrow and received himself, and you know that you can go to him in your moment of trouble and find that he has plenty of time for you. But if a person has not been through the fires of sorrow, he is apt to be contemptuous, having no respect or time for you, only turning you away. If you will receive yourself in the fires of sorrow, God will make you nourishment for other people.

Do you find yourself praying, “O God please use me today for Your glory and the Kingdom’s sake?” Then be prepared for no pain no gain. Here’s the thing--let’s not be disheartened during the painful times--God is at work in us. The good news is that He will see us through the pain. Chambers had this to say concerning Christ's “painful time” before His cruxifiction: He was saved not from the hour, but out of the hour.

Here’s the attitude Chambers says we should keep in mind:
As a saint of God, my attitude toward sorrow and difficulty should not be to ask that they be prevented, but to ask that God protect me so that I may remain what He created me to be, in spite of all my fires of sorrow.                   --Pastor Dean
Dear Widow, May God protect you today, and may all He created you to be remain strong in Him--despite everything!

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