Have you ever thought about how much time we waste trying to avoid pain? I mean, there is a measure of common sense that must be utilized in avoiding danger and sickness… but I’m referring to the flat-out fear of physical or emotional distress.
Think about all the things that you may try to avoid because it would cause discomfort:
-ending a harmful relationship
-having difficult conversations
-admitting your own sins or shortcomings
-watching a charity commercial on T.V
-watching the news
-saying “no” to your children (my children get it all the time so no biggie there on my end).
-reading sad stories
-watching chick-flicks (that’s a personal one for me- tons of women love them! I will occasionally watch a “girlie” movie but most of the time I’d prefer not to get sad and weepy when I’m supposed to be entertained. I’ll gladly cry for spiritual reasons but I HATE crying for anything else. I know- I’m weird)
Anyway, the “uncomfortable” list goes on and on. I’ve discovered something recently though (at least about myself)… in completely avoiding pain I lessen the effect of joy.¬†Let me say that again: BY COMPLETELY AVOIDING PAIN YOU LESSEN THE EFFECT OF JOY!¬†Here’s what I mean: How much more thankful were you for your blessings after coming home from a mission trip? How much more appreciative were you in finding your love after an ex that broke your heart? How much more do you want to cuddle your little children when you think about them growing up and not being able to cuddle anymore? (See what I mean?)
Life is full of pain; some needs to be avoided, some does not. Not that we should go looking for heartache, but we should allow ourselves to FEEL whenever heartache shows up. Stop flipping the channel as soon as you see a starving child on the television. Read that article on a woman who lost a child. Talk to that person that you see with a tear on their cheek, when you’d really rather just pretend you didn’t see. We take away a huge measure of our own joy and fulfillment when we try in desperation to protect ourselves from life. God could be trying to minister to someone through the hurt you feel or He could be using it to grow and use you! Your children need those extra cuddles; that charity may need what little you can give; your spouse may need to know how much you truly appreciate him/her. God will use the hurt to heal, and the sorrows to help you sing. He will open your eyes to blessings when you see what you could lose and He will never leave you alone in the pain,¬†so there’s no real reason to fear it.
“Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4:16-18)
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For just as the sufferings of Christ are¬†ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ.” (2 Corinthians 1:3-5)