Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice (Philippians 4:4).
Nobody likes pain.
Nobody likes seeing their children suffer. Nobody likes financial hardship. We don’t have to like what’s happening to us.
But we are to rejoice in all things.
We don’t have to like affliction, but we can rejoice in midst of it because of what we know. We know that God causes all things to work together for our good, and that good is to be transformed into the likeness of his Son.
Our hearts constantly interpret what is happening to us. When something bad happens we can interpret it as God has forgotten about us or doesn’t care about us. Or we can interpret it as something God is doing to make us like Christ. We can interpret our trials as meaningless hardships or as God’s loving hand working something in us that will bring us joy for all eternity.
What matters most is not whether we like what is happening to us but what we believe about God in our situation. Do we believe God is in control of all things, all-wise, infinitely good and loving? If we believe these things we can rejoice in our pain even though we don’t like it.
Last December a stress test revealed I had some blockage in my heart and I had to get a catheterization and a stent.
I didn’t like it.
I didn’t like having to get up at 5a.m. and drive an hour to the hospital in Pittsburgh. I didn’t like getting poked and jabbed and having blood drawn several times. And I really didn’t like having to adorn myself with a hospital gown. I didn’t like lying on the gurney. Didn’t like being cut open. And the worst part of it all was having to lie on my back with a screaming headache without moving or lifting my head for four hours after my surgery. But I was glad for the doctors, nurses, medical technology, surgery and discomfort because I knew it in the long run it would hopefully prevent a heart attack and give me a longer life.
You don’t have to like what’s happening to you. You don’t have to like being single or lonely. You don’t have to like not having a job. You don’t have to like not knowing what you’re going to do in life. You don’t have to like your sickness. But you can still rejoice and be glad that God is using it for his glory in your life.
We don’t have to like pain but we can praise God in the midst of it.
Thanks to Kay McCoy for the idea for this post.