No Pain, No Gain!
That’s what I remember hearing myself say, as I climbed out of bed one recent morning. I had just been greeted by a familiar friend from years ago: Old Miss Pain.
She’s the kind of friend you hate to see coming, but know that it’s a “good thing” when she does. She usually comes the day after a good, hard workout. Eeeyup! That friend. She visited me recently and nearly cramped up every moving body part.
I tried to keep things in perspective as I knelt to pray. “Ouch!” I said again. A tiny spasm in my calf muscle threatened to turn into a horse named Charlie and knock me onto the floor. Then I heard another voice whisper to me: “No pain, no gain!”
That relatively minor “pain” I was experiencing was a result of my weak muscles being torn down, so that they could grow bigger and stronger. Suddenly, I was grateful for Old Miss Pain. Her presence encouraged me to keep up my regimen at the gym. She reminded me that I am making progress.
They’re growing pains. I know that my body has to go through this process in order to achieve better heath and fitness. It’s for my good.
“No pain, no gain!” I said back to God. “Thank You for helping me to grow stronger!”
As believers, we often experience growing pains that help whip us into spiritual shape, too. They’re part of God’s process for helping us recognize areas of weakness in our ways of thinking and acting. God loves us, so He allows the pain—regardless of our whining and crying—so that He can tear us down to grow us up bigger and stronger in the spirit:
“For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons. Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness. Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.” (Heb. 12:6-11, KJV)
No pain, no gain—in the natural and in the spiritual.
Praise the Lord! Yes, there have certainly been times when I have felt the pangs of spiritual growth, as God exercised some spiritually immature or underdeveloped area of my life. Whether it was some negative behavior that had become second nature to me or some long-overlooked character flaw, my initial response was always the same: “Ouch!”
But, just like I have learned to accept my visits from Old Miss Pain after a physical workout in the gym, I now realize (and accept) the agonizing spiritual discipline that comes with being loved by God. It’s a necessary process to help me conform to the image of Christ, as is God’s will for all of His children. It’s for our good.
- Do you feel that God is exercising you in one or more areas of your life?
- Are you resisting the pressure or going with the flow?
- What steps can you take to quickly recognize His efforts to get you in shape and fall in line with less opposition? No pain, no gain!
Father, I thank You for helping me to grow stronger, both naturally and spiritually. Thank You for continually working on, in, and through me, for my good and Your glory. May Your will be done in all things. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
May God bless you with a little “pain” today!
A South Jersey resident, Genikwa R. Williams is a born-again believer, a worshipper of God, and a servant to His people. Professionally, she is a Christian freelance writer and a ministry communications professional.
Copyright © 2008 by Genikwa R. Williams