I think in our world we naturally avoid pain. No one goes into the doctors office and says, "Please hurt me today..." No one walks down the street looking for a car to hit them. No one in their right mind goes into a football game hoping to break a leg. I know this all sounds dramatic, but it's true. It is natural to avoid pain. Hang with me...
I personally hate needles. If you know me, you know this already and you probably don't need a recap. (If you are really lucky you have held my hand during the much anticipated flu shot more than one year in a row.) It is awful. My entire body gets tense. I can't think of anything but the needle that is about to be inserted into my arm. I literally get close to passing out each and every time I have to deal with any kind of shot or needle for that matter. I can promise you the worst part of all of my pregnancies was the blood draws and the IV at the hospital before the actual delivery. I know, ridiculous. But it is all true. It is even more natural for me to avoid pain than the average person.
Regardless of how much I hate needles I still get shots and vaccines to keep myself from getting sick. Tonight while I was reading about various truths about suffering I came across this verse.
"For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as
we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are
unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that
are unseen are eternal." 2 Corinthians 4:17-18
From this verse, one thing I know for sure about pain is that it prepares us for more glory. I am not afraid to recognize that God brings suffering into our lives for the sake of our eternal life. In my small human mind my tragedy and suffering does not seem "light," but I know that it is. I know that just like my flu shot prepares me for flu season, this suffering is preparing me for what lies ahead; pure joy and glory in our eternal home. I get to enjoy this season without the flu (hopefully) and I get to fully embrace heaven and all of its joy because of what I have learned through suffering on earth.
Tonight and for the past several days my cousin has watched over her sick little boy. Her motherly instinct told her that something was not right and the answers she was getting from doctors were not enough. She made the decision to take her son to the hospital because of that instinct (and because doing nothing is never an option for a mom). A day early the doctors were able to give her some answers. Her son has Kawasaki disease and the earliest possible day he could get the medicine he will. He will fight this disease and come through completely healthy again. The best part of this whole story is that because of the pain, she will find more joy in her heavenly home. As Christians we will never get to walk through life on Earth without pain. We have either already experienced it, are experiencing it now, or will soon experience some kind of suffering.
"...strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying that through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God." Acts 14:22
I hope we can all grasp this hope and find joy in the suffering.