“Sometimes it is harder to deprive oneself of a pain than of a pleasure.”
F. Scott Fitzgerald, Tender is the Night US novelist (1896 – 1940)
Everybody experiences pain; it is unavoidable. Pain is a signal that something needs attention. Whenever we feel pain we automatically give attention to the area of pain to try to relieve it. When I was young, I dislocated my wrist. As soon as I felt the pain I immediately drew it close to my heart. I have noticed that reaction many times from knee injuries to shoulder injuries. There is a reaction to pull the limb close and inward towards the heart.
Emotional pain in the same manner causes us to look inward to figure out what is wrong. The purpose of pain is to draw needed attention to a problem. Pain should drive us to a solution, not merely to the knowledge of the fact that there is pain. If the pain is severe enough it will cause attention to the pain, create a desire to be rid of the pain, and activate our imagination to look for a solution. Pain has the ability to capture a person’s attention immediately, causing an interruption of the activity, pattern, system or process, which is at hand. Often pain is introduced through an unplanned event and it has the effect of throwing us into a crisis or some form of turmoil. Instead we should allow pain to bring about a healthy shift. Let pain sponsor change. Ask yourself a simple question. “What will happen if I don’t change this situation?” You know that pain is doing its job when staying in your present state is more painful than making a change.
Rabbi Gans quotes from Radak in his book Success, “the word of Hashem is upright, and all His deeds are with faith” (Tehillim 33:4) (which is Ps 33:4). They [people] praise the bad with joy and delight, as well as the good, because they perceive that bad as a good.” Rabbi Gans follows the quote with this, “Look for the good in everything. When it rains, it is not enough to stand by idly and watch; find the benefit in each and every drop. Similarly, when walking down the street, do not go untouched by the fresh air, the sight of a clear blue sky, the sound of children laughing and birds chirping: rather, fill your lungs and enjoy the fresh air, and open your eyes and ears to the scintillating sights and sounds that surround you.” It’s pretty easy to discover the good in a convenient and desirable moment or event. The precious things in life are not found in those moments only, but we must be able to find the blessing in the uncomfortable, mundane, and unfortunate circumstances.
The power of invention is discovered when problems arise. In my book, Becoming a Pioneer of Success, I reveal how to unleash the power of invention and problem solving in difficult times. I look at how some of the greatest achievements that have ever been discovered came from problems that needed a solution. It is the very power of creation. We have been made in the image and likeness of God. God looks at the problem and immediately knows how to fix it. We have that very same DNA.
Matthew 5:44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may become sons of your Father in Heaven. For He makes His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.
In life there is a contrast between life and death, light and dark, love and hate. Love is contrasted by enemies and persecution. The great level of love that you possess will determine the level of enemies and persecution that you experience. If you and I are to become sons of God, we must be able to love at a greater level than our level of pain. God has never been in pain, God has never been in lack, God has never been in want. The more you and I handle our enemies, persecution, darkness, and pain the way that God would handle them, the more we become like Him. Enemies, pain, persecution, worthlessness, and darkness are allowed to perform a greater glory in us. (Rom 8:18-19) “So that you become sons of your Father in Heaven”, so that you will function from above in heavenly standards instead of reacting to earthly, lower level enemies, pain, darkness, etc. None of these things are in heaven. My Father in heaven never abides in these things.
God is not a respecter of persons. When we realize that we will stop trying to figure why our lives may seem more difficult than others. God has a way of making good come out of every circumstance. Divine providence would force us to understand that everything thing will work out for the good because God has set a providential reevaluation, opportunity, grace, or favor that will take this painful circumstance and mold something good from it.
“For He makes His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.” The Father is completely in control. He makes His sun rise…. He sends His rain… This is a revelation of how God deals with the good and the evil, the enemies and the persecution. We are being given permission to grow into the ability of operating in the same love that our Father who is in heaven operates in from challenges, trials, and tribulations. Love operates without fear, so it never allows anything to control it. Love makes things happen and has the ability to send things. Love binds and looses. Love operates above the circumstances, just as our Father who causes the sun to rise and the rain to fall. There are no good days and bad days. There are only days to love someone. When we love, we make people into what God has for them to become. When we love, we send people into their destiny. When we know that the Father in heaven loves us we realize that the sun and the rain both have benefits because God allows them.
1 Tim 2:3 Therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. 4 No one who wars tangles with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who chose him to be a soldier.
A soldier can endure what other people fold under. We must approach life as a soldier. Having any other mindset will cause us to become entangled by the things that we must walk through. God is not pleased if we get caught up with the pains, problems, or other affairs of this world. God chose us to overcome the world. God has empowered us to overcome the world. God is pleased when we have overcoming faith. The Greek word for pleased in verse 4 means to “be agreeable with”. A soldier must live in a way that the commander is in agreement with. No commander is in agreement with a soldier stepping out of rank. Never allow the cares of this world to cause you to step out of rank.
James 5:11 Behold, we count blessed those who endure. You have heard of the patience of Job, and you have seen the end of the Lord, that the Lord is full of pity and of tender mercy.
Blessed are those who endure. In the world enduring through something is painful. In the kingdom of God endurance is a blessing. The Greek word for blessed is also translated to beatify, pronounce or esteem fortunate, and counted happy. No matter what you and I may believe, the New Testament interpretation of the book of Job is that Job was a blessed man whose end would surely turn out for the good. As it is said in Romans 8, all things work together for the good of those who love God and who are called according to His purpose. We often misunderstand the process of the blessing. Abraham was sent to a famine because he was blessed. Joseph was still happy in the pit and prison because he was blessed. Eutychus fell out of the window while Paul was preaching and was taken up alive. Eutychus means the fortunate, which is also a description of being blessed. The blessed may fall, but they get back up. If the blessing is on your life, no matter what happens you land on your feet. “You have heard of the patience of Job, and you have seen the end of the Lord, that the Lord is full of pity and of tender mercy.” Consider the understanding of this amazing scripture. Job had patience and trust in God, knowing that God would never allow an evil end to trump the revelation that He is a good God. How can we trust that what we are going through is going to turn around for the better if we have faith and patience? Because The Lord is more gracious and tender in mercy than the devil is evil. The Lord is more merciful and gracious than the world is cruel. That’s why the one who can stay under the wings of the almighty will not be afraid because he can trust in The Lord, that The Lord is faithful and true.
I Peter 2:20 For what glory is it if you patiently endure while sinning and being buffeted? But if you suffer while doing good, and patiently endure, this is a grace from God.
Grace is often referenced when there is recognized sin. We must keep in mind that there are many graces given to man, of which the grace to cover sin after salvation is a low level use of grace. Grace is for those who endure. Grace is for those who desire to walk in a stature greater than their own. Grace is for those who would give up and quit to find their nerve again and continue. Grace is not for those who willfully sin and then call on the name of grace. Grace is for the one who is experiencing evil while they are doing good. In doing good they suffer some kind of trial, tribulation, or persecution, yet never give themselves to these circumstances. They are the ones who truly lean into the grace of God, which empowers and emboldens us to stay longer than expected, live longer than expected, run faster than expected, and rise higher than expected. The grace of God is for those who want to endure with patience as they wait for a good God. This comes from recognizing that nothing that we experience is without a reward from God.
Rom 8:18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed to us-ward.
Our endurance is based upon what we make up in our mind to be reasonable or rewarding. Through reason and reward we base our actions, endurance, and stick-ability. The greatest reward in life in not money, but it is recognition. There is a survey that shows that people would rather receive an award and recognition than get a raise. To be recognized for a great accomplishment is very rewarding to the world. In the world people pursue glory and fame to be important. In the kingdom of God glory only comes from God. In the kingdom of God we go from glory to glory by enduring through things that would make a normal person quit. Glory belongs to those who endure. Every moment that you endure through something while trusting in The Lord, the greater manifestation of glory is found in you. Whenever enduring through something you and I must not allow the pain to be equal or greater than that reward of glory. The glory of God must be our ultimate aim in life. The only way to do this is to be rooted and grounded in love.
1 Cor 13:4 Love suffereth long, and is kind; love envieth not; love vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, 5 doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not its own, is not provoked, taketh not account of evil; 6 rejoiceth not in unrighteousness, but rejoiceth with the truth; 7 beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
Love is the most powerful force in the universe. Endurance is love in action. When we understand that God loves us we can endure all things because He is our great reward, our shield and buckler. When we love God, we wait patiently, against all odds for Him to make all things to work together for our good. Love is a belief, an emotion, a force, a person; the person of Jesus Christ. Love is massive! Love is invincible! Love is strong! Love makes us stay longer than what’s normal. Love never quits! Love endures all things!