I’ve never been a mother, and it’s hard for me to comprehend the worth of the pain and discomfort women experience during pregnancy. I’m assuming that baby is REALLY worth something because millions of women continue to endure pregnancy and childbirth, and often multiple times!
Jesus’ persecution and death was just the same. At Bible study last night, my pastor said this amazing, yet simple statement and it blew my mind.
“The greatness of Jesus’ assignment minimized his pain.”
I’ve always been one to want to understand the purpose in something before I did it. If it didn’t seem beneficial or worthwhile, you could count. Me. Out! When I was 12 years old, I had to get braces. I think I wore my braces longer than anyone in the entire history of braces! From 6th-10th grade my poor teeth were detained! Sad.
Anyway, as I was nearing what was supposed to be the end of my confined-teeth journey, the orthodontist told me, “You must wear these rubber bands on your braces all day everyday for the first month. After the first month, you can start wearing them at night only.” I listened, said “ok” & went about my normal rubber band FREE life for the next year! Now, I would wear them at night, but I thought I was cute and kept a boyfriend in those days so I was NOT about to ruin my good looks with some nasty saliva-holding rubber bands during the school day! GROSS & NOT CUTE! lol
After a year of minimal progress, my orthodontist’s assistant said to me, “Do you know you could’ve gotten your braces off a year ago?” I looked at her crazy and said, “No!” She said, “had you been wearing your rubber bands, you would be done by now!” I replied, “Well what are the rubber bands for?” She went on to explain how the rubber bands were the last step in the braces process and how they were supposed to align my jaw so that my top and bottom teeth fit perfectly together. After that talk, I was rockin’ those neon rubber bands and out of those braces in no time! All I needed to know was the purpose!
Process and pain are two very strategic things that God uses to prepare us for our purpose. I could break this story down and say I extended my process with the braces because I wanted to avoid the pain of the rubber bands…blah, blah, blah…I know that “will preach,” as some might say, but I’d like to approach the story this way:
What if I had listened and obeyed BEFORE I knew the purpose of those rubber bands?
I love how God loves us through the pain and process. Sometimes he’ll show a glimpse of the purpose and other times He’ll ask us to act on blind faith and do what He says with no understanding of the reason behind it at all.
I have experienced both and I’m learning that whether or not I understand the point of the process/pain, is irrelevant. God is sovereign, all knowing and pretty darn great at what He does. We are all sinners, hopeless and wreckless without a Savior. And even with a Savior, we’re still weak and limited in our own might! Why in the world would He have to explain stuff to us?!
We have one simple task: to obey. I thank God He didn’t pat me on the back, give me the 500,000-piece puzzle of my life story and say, “now figure it out Champ! You’ve got 83 years to get it right!”
Ahhhhh!!! How scary would that be? What if you lose a piece along the way or can’t figure it all out in time? How many people would be affected? How incomplete would your life story be? Would you ever even reach your purpose?
Process and pain although often lonely, uncomfortable and as far from fun as watching your great grandmother eat sunflower seeds (random example lol), is so perfect! It’s necessary!
And the big question is…“Why?”
Hebrews 12:1-12 answers it all. You should read it on your own in its entirety. For now, check this part out:
“…And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. 2 We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne…But God’s discipline is always good for us, so that we might share in his holiness. 11 No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening—it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way.”