No Pain…No Grace?
If you’ve ever spent any time in a weight room you’ve probably heard the phrase, “no pain, no gain”. The idea is that in order for muscle fibers to grow and expand, they need to be torn down. Lifting weights to the point of pain can be helpful in building muscle, as long as you don’t overdo it. Of course, most of us do not like pain, so most people who lift weights usually stop before they reach a point where the real building of muscle tissue begins. God has his own training program for us and it often involves pain and suffering. In my last post I talked about how our personal safety is not at the top of God’s agenda for our lives. The item at the top of God’s agenda is bringing glory to Himself through our lives. In 2 Corinthians 12 Paul writes about a certain “thorn in the flesh” that was given to Him by God. Paul asked God to take it away but God refused. This is God’s answer to Paul: 9 And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
God said that His strength was made perfect, or complete, through Paul’s weakness. God said that His grace would be sufficient for Paul. This is such an important lesson for us to learn and to live. When suffering comes our way, we know that God’s grace is sufficient to get us through. We may think that we are walking in the darkness alone but we are NEVER alone. God is always there. His abundant and sufficient grace is always with us and it is often through the pain of this life that we truly appreciate and feel the grace of God. If you are going through the wringer right now, and you’ve asked God to relieve the suffering and His answer has been “No”, please don’t think for a second it’s because He can’t hear you or that He doesn’t care. He is strengthening you. He is providing grace that you can use. When we are weak, we are strong in Christ. Without pain, we couldn’t appreciate grace.