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Monday, July 27, 2015

Productive Pain

Then God said, “Take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love, and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains I will tell you about. Genesis 22:2 

Pain is synonymous with suffering, anguish, trials, tribulation, adversity, trouble and hard times. It affects our emotions, mind, body, soul, spirit and will for it is indiscriminate in its affliction. There are times God will ask His children to walk through extremely difficult situations. Indeed, there is probably no greater pain in life than to be willing to inflict pain on someone you love; yet this is what God asked Abraham to do with Isaac.

Pain was their teacher to bring them into alignment with Almighty God’s agenda. It was a moment to trust God, or to trust their instincts of self-preservation. Fortunately, it was faith in their Heavenly Father that fostered obedience. They allowed pain to replace self-sufficiency with strength in God. Productive pain finds solutions in obedience to God. 

So, how can pain become your helpful teacher and not your naughty nemeses? First you begin to learn from pain by maintaining a providential perspective and a teachable attitude. See your suffering as a songbook from your Savior, and learn how to sing these new life lyrics. In the beginning of adversity you may sound off key in your complaints. And yes, new can be uncomfortable and embarrassing as you learn to harmonize what heaven has allowed.

But Christ is with you in the middle of your loss of a friend, a job, finances or faith. So seek to learn from the Lord in your suffering, for He does not waste pain. It is meant to move you in the direction of your Master. Pain purifies your motives and validates your obedience. Convenient obedience can be shallow and insincere, but pain verifies authentic obedience. Without pain how do you know if your faith is for real? 

Pain is a process of growing in grace. Paul was a student of this, for he personally experienced God in the middle of his suffering, “Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us” (Romans 5:3-5).

Furthermore, do not wear any self-imposed suffering as a badge of honor. Asceticism (severe self discipline) is not a substitute for your relationship with Christ, but it can be an enhancer. For example, use the pain and discomfort of fasting to foster your faith in God by bending your will toward His. Any pain is meant to be a teacher that leads you to look outside yourself for peace and provision in your Savior. However painful it might be to let go, do it out of obedience and love for Jesus. Productive pain finds peace in God.

Prayer: How can I remain obedient to God and productive for Him in the middle of my pain?

Related ReadingsPsalm 69:29; Galatians 1:15-16; Hebrews 11:17; 1 Peter 1:7

~Wisdom Hunters Devotional~

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