God's blessings -- We all love to receive them! He showers HIs goodness down on us and sends us good things.
But some blessings are tied to pain. Those sometimes aren't so welcome!
Today I listened to a brilliant geneticist. He had been an atheist until, as a doctor, he encountered patients who trusted God in the midst of their pain. They had something he didn't have -- something solid -- and this revelation caused the doctor to reevaluate his life and become a believer.
Did the patients WANT to be in pain? Of course not. Did they view their suffering as a blessing? Probably not. And yet, their pain was used by God to bring another precious brother into the kingdom. Their pain resulted in a huge blessing to the doctor -- and to themselves. What a privilege to be trusted by God to help someone come to faith! That is an eternal blessing!
Moms, we all went through intense pain to birth our dear children. Would any of us say it wasn't worth it? NO! The joy of seeing our precious baby far outweighs the pain we endured. The pain was temporary -- it did end -- but the blessing, the precious child, is forever.
If we see things from an eternal perspective, we can:
"Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds..." (James 1:2) and
"fix our eyes on Jesus ... who for the joy set before him [US!] endured the cross...so that you will not grow weary and lose heart." (Hebrews 12:2-3)
Trials and pain change us and make us mature and complete. I think that sometimes our trials and pain are also for others. God uses our pain and trials (as we cling to Him) to show other people the beauty of a life that trusts God. He does this to bring others to Himself.
Some of you may feel overwhelmed, in the midst of a huge storm that seems to never end. I, too, often share that with you. I am writing from times of prolonged pain and troubles. But let's encourage each other to cling all the more tightly to God. Let's not waste our trials. As we endure the trials holding tight to his hand, may He show us how to consider them pure joy because of the blessings -- in our lives and in others -- that will come as we hold tight to Him.
For His Kingdom!