Even the greatest theologian will tell you it is difficult to accept hardship. We are human; we like comfort and it is often in hind sight we are able to say "....we know all things work together for the good of those who are called according to (God's) purpose." Romans 8:28
We need to know, however, that outside of our own bad choices, trials are not punishment from God nor does He abandon us on such journeys. In the midst of our pain He is with us as He was with His Son on the journey to the cross. As He chose to allow Jesus to endure pain, so He allows us the same privilege in order for us to develop Christ-like character.
Earlier, (in part 1) I asked if we could live out our purpose without BOTH joy and pain.
I believe not.
If life was blissful and carefree all the time, outside of feeling good, what would be the divine purpose to life?
We learn and grow through trials. We learn to be strong where we would otherwise be weak. Trials build our faith muscles and our ability to persevere and it is often only through experience can we truly understand what others are going through and offer genuine love and compassion.
Grapes get crushed to make wine. Apples get pressed for juices. Peaches become peach pies. Yummy!!! For a good cup of java (to have with that pie) those coffee beans have to get roasted at very high temperatures.
A transforming process may not always be pleasant but usually leads to something better.
I gave birth to two children. During each pregnancy, there were times I was nauseous and couldn't eat well. I had swollen ankles and waddled instead of walk. I longed for relief. But only when the baby was fully developed was it ready to come out. The process of giving birth - PAIN!! But the life that came from that process brought a JOY that was indescribable. You get my drift?
Consider Terry Fox, the Canadian athlete diagnosed with cancer at the age of 18. He was forced to have one leg amputated because of the cancer in his bones but in the midst of his painful journey, his focus was more on those around him suffering the same fate. He started to run to raise money for cancer cure but sadly, Terry died at the age of 22. The Terry Fox Foundation exist today because one young man encountered cancer and though he did not beat it, he left behind a legacy; opportunities for fundraising and research towards a cure. His short-lived life produced something amazingly wonderful.
Don't get me wrong, some trials can be REALLY, REALLY , REALLY hard but we are reassured that God will be with us in them. So instead of resenting the trials and pains, may we learn to embrace the purpose they serve. And as we walk in our purpose I pray we allow God to ignite change; not just in us, but for others in this world.
"And the God of grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast." 1 Peter 5:10