No Pain, No Gain

Missed job opportunity.

Moving to a new, unfamiliar place.

Relationship that didn’t work out.

Family strife.

Broken friendships.

Losing loved ones.

Feeling left out or unworthy.

Financial hardships.

I’m not sure what the case is for you, but over the last two years, I’ve found that hard times hurt. Well DUH, Clara. But…over the last two years, I’ve also found that my hard times have brought about some of the greatest blessings, change and growth in my life. Bear with me as I’m no scholar and my writing is more scattered and unorganized than a 7th graders, but this has been on my mind for a while, and when it came up again while in my study of Ruth this week, I finally decided to jot down some of my thoughts and realizations. I’ll make it short and sweet 🙂

We will face hard and difficult times, but it is through these hard times that some of the greatest blessings can come about. Similar to how grain has to be beaten/threshed before it is edible/useful, how olives must be crushed prior to bringing about oil, and (greatest of all), how Jesus was beaten and crucified on the cross to bring about eternal life (for you and for me!!) – we too will face crushing, broken, and hard times. Just like the processing of grains and olives both require some type of pressure to bring about the really good stuff, God will purposefully inflict juuust the right amount of “pressure” on us as well – sometimes in the form of hard times of brokenness and hurt – not to kill, defeat or crush us to smithereens, but to bring about life greater than we can ask or imagine, to make us more like Christ, to draw us closer to Him, and to ultimately bring glory to His name.

And after you have suffered a little while,
the God of all grace, who has called you
to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself
restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. 
– 1 Peter 5:10

Think about it – He created you (Psalm 139:13-16), He is jealous for you (Exodus 34:14), and He loves you so much he sent His Son to die for you (John 3:16) – why would he set out to ruin something he cares so deeply for? Grain and olives aren’t beaten and crushed for too long or too hard, or else they’d be ruined – the same holds true for us…

Does one crush grain for bread?
    No, he does not thresh it forever;
when he drives his cart wheel over it
    with his horses, he does not crush it. 
-Isaiah 28:28

…God knows the precise amount and time of pressure each of us can endure, and he will not exceed it. If we are in Christ, we know our pain now will yield future blessings later. Not to make light of the subject, but it’s kinda like “no pain, no gain”, right? So, take heart and persevere in times of hardship, trouble, brokenness, pain, or suffering. God is right there with you, forever faithful. And, even if you can’t understand it now, find comfort in knowing that God is bringing forth life that is better than anything we have ever known or could ever conceive.  

Where shall I go from your Spirit?
    Or where shall I flee from your presence?
If I ascend to heaven, you are there!
    If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!
If I take the wings of the morning
    and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
10 even there your hand shall lead me,
    and your right hand shall hold me.
– Psalm 139:7-10