“There is redemptive value in pain when God walks by your side.”
Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – October 24, 2023
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6
One day as I sat in the airport waiting to board my flight, I spoke with a young woman, a graduate student studying medicine at Johns Hopkins University. “If there was one thing you could do with your life, what would that one thing be?” I asked. “I’d have my own overseas medical lab,” she said. “But I don’t think that will ever happen,” she said. “That’s just too big of a risk and there’s too much to lose.”
I took a second look at her. She was beautiful, articulate, young and intelligent. What do you have to lose? I thought. More than you can imagine.
When we insist on ease, when we demand that God’s plan for our life be comfortable, when we want reward and satisfaction without the difficulty of the unknown, we lose more than we imagined. When we will only say yes to Him when it’s easy, we lose the joy of the journey He has called us to.
The greatest saints of the Bible didn’t experience reward without discomfort or calling without chaos. Moses was mocked and scorned by those he wanted to rescue; Joseph was abused and ridiculed by his brothers, and every one of the disciples was persecuted for their faith. Even Christ was crucified.
Should we expect following God’s plan—and calling—for our lives without discomfort?
Perhaps you’re thinking, “Look at Jesus! He followed God’s will and he was crucified.” Be encouraged: Jesus endured the pain, the discomfort, and the torture of taking on the entire sin of the world because he knew there was “joy that was set before him‚” (Hebrews 12:2). He knew that the punctuation on his page of pain would be turned to exclamation points of joy.
Imagine that you are on your death bed. Your best friend comes in the room and asks you, “What do you wish you would have done with your life?” Would you say that you wish you would have colored inside the lines a little more, lived life more carefully?
If you’re like most people, you would feel that you should have lived with a little more reckless abandon and faith. Loved more. Dreamed more. Adventured more. Responded to God’s promptings more. Most of us live far too carefully. God places dreams in our hearts and we find every reason under the sun why we can’t accomplish them. He nudges us to act, and we run. Yes, we risk far too little and so unlike Jesus, we experience little joy.
This is the value of discomfort and the redemptive value of pain. When it’s waded through with God, because He is calling you to something redemptive, there will always be a reward and deep satisfaction on the other side too.
God’s calling and plans for your life will most likely be deeply uncomfortable at times, but you will never experience deep satisfaction without stepping into the unknown. Will you risk discomfort to experience the joy of knowing you are in the center of His will?
“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit” (Jeremiah 17:7-8).
Lord, I commit to say yes to you when you call me into the unknown, even when I know your call will be difficult. I trust that you will show me the way and lovingly guide me. I know you will never call me to do something for you without being with me. Amen.
If you have been saying no to God out of fear, selfishness, pride, or some other ungodly motivation, choose to say yes to Him today. Amen.
Kim Walker-Smith: I Say Yes
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