I so desperately want to remember God works spiritual gains through physical pains. Just like a tough workout leaves me sore today but stronger tomorrow, the sufferings of life are God’s unique way of giving me a faith stronger than ever before.
But that’s hard to appreciate in the moment, because Jesus doesn’t let us control our pain. At the gym, we can slow down on the treadmill, lower our reps, or go home if we don’t want to feel the burn anymore. But life isn’t like that. You aren’t in control of how much it hurts to lose a job, go through chemo, or struggle to pay the bills. Therefore, the pain can feel so overwhelming that we lose sight of what Jesus might be doing through it.
Perhaps that’s why the apostle Paul couldn’t talk too much about the purpose of pain before bringing up the promise of love. Romans chapter 5, an incredible section on what our Father does through our suffering, ends up here: “God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us” (Romans 5:5).
When pain gets the best of you, know the Holy Spirit is still with you. When your grumbling has out-worded your gratitude (again), know God’s love is still being poured out. When you fail the test of pain, know Jesus endured his pain so you would always end up with a Father in heaven who loves to call you his dear child.