Growth Through Pain

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Growth Through Pain

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

  • James 1:2 – 4

 

 

I haven’t been doing well the last couple of day. I jacked up my foot about a week ago playing Capture the Flag with the middle school ministry at the church. (In case you’re wondering. I led our team to a 2 – 1 victory that night, but I’ve paid dearly for it since.) But victory isn’t the focus of this post. Trial is. So back to the point.

 

Trials and hardship tend to bring out the worst in us. They catch us off guard and bring out what’s on the inside. Our secret doubts about life’s fairness. Our hidden fears about God’s goodness. Our anger, anxiety, bitterness and cynicism. Our selfishness. Our proclivity to control. All these things seem to bubble to the surface when the chips are down.

 

Most of us, don’t like what comes out of us when we face trials. I know this is true for me.  I don’t like the way I lash out at the people closest to me or the stress induced headaches. I hate feeling anxious and annoyed. And yet, it seems these are the default actions I go to when life heads in an unplanned or unwanted direction.

 

And so lately I’ve been asking this question. Is there a way to walk through trials full of joy, hope and peace?

 

I was reading James 1:1 – 12 the other day. And I found some helpful and somewhat simple guidance. (Notice I didn’t say anything about it being easy.) Anyways, in James 1, God says he uses trials to shape character. In other words, trials exist to help us become the people God wants us to be.

 

The shaping of character doesn’t happen by putting our head down and gutting it through. Nor does it happen by throwing in the towel halfway through. So how is character forged?

 

God seems to say in James that it happens as we look up and make an intentional choice to be joyful, to offer him a surrendered will and to cultivate a heart that believe the best. I know this advice sounds simplistic but what if handling trials is simpler than we make it? What if it’s something even a child could do? What if we made the choice to be joyfully in hard times? What if we lived a God I’m trusting you as I walk through this valley of death kind of life? What if we cultivated a heart that believed God was allowing hardship into our lives to shape us into his image? I think if we made these hard but simple choices our trials would become some of the greatest catalysts for growth.

 

In short, I think, if we face our trials God’s way, God will begin to have his way in us. Again, I’m not saying this is easy, but I am learning it’s more simple than we make it. So today I’m choosing to be joyful as a hobble around on a busted ankle. Today, I’m choosing to offer God a surrendered will. Today, I’m choosing to cultivate a heart that believes the best is yet to come.


2 thoughts on “Growth Through Pain

  1. I’m so sorry this happened to you, pastor Charlie. I certainly can identify with that ugly word P-A-I-N, and how since before our crawling days ended, we had no power to pull ourselves upright, turn around and 🚶 walk like we were designed to until after toddlerhood! Mobility is a valued commodity! 👣👢
    I escaped injuries or repairs until middle age, and no doubt, the pain of recovery isn’t easier with age. Do you remember the little (and funny) song long ago called “This Old Man”? It was a quirky little ditty I was reminded of after my corrective first of 3 foot surgeries, and later both knee replacements. Trying my best, I’d force small movements to the tune of said song, such as – “This old man, he struck ONE, he played knick-nack on my thumb, with a knick-nack paddywack give a dog a bone, this old man came rolling home.” The rest of the verses grew more and more sinister, yes as a kid, it entertained me because then – chronic pain had not moved into my home!
    God bless your tender ankle as He mends it back to normal as no other physician can do ❤
    Sincerely,
    Lynda Gail Sizemore

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