Sometimes there is pain that is thrusted upon us against our will, and then there is pain that we may feel tempted to run away from, but God is asking us to endure.
I have found that whether it’s pain we can choose to be around or pain that will stick around whether we want it to or not, enduring the pain often leads to a time of refinement of the heart. So many times I have thought to just leave, or run away from the offense and the confusion. Why allow the wound to remain open and subject to being hurt again? We allow it so that the selfishness, jealousy, bitterness, and anger that lives within our heart is cleaned out and it also prepares us for the next step God has for us in this journey called life.
Enduring offenses, and not leaving somewhere or pushing someone out of our life because they have offended us, can become a perfect time for God to refine our hearts. God can definitely use pain. Just today I was thinking about my kids and the truths I want to teach them. Honestly I cannot see how they will ever truly let these truths penetrate their heart until they go out into the world and experience a little bit of pain. Even though I know that in order to be refined, and to have all that selfishness and pride cleaned out of their heart, they will need to experience pain. I will be here for them, waiting to help guide them on how to handle whatever trial it is they are facing.
I know it is the heart of God for us to be led to Jesus even if that means there will be pain. So next time you are wondering why God won’t give you permission to leave a certain situation where you have been offended, hurt, or betrayed, just think about the refinement that is going on. Forgiveness, love, and acceptance can only be taught in those moments where you are forced to endure the pain.
No matter what Christmas was for us in the past, it seems like every year it has the opportunity, and the possibility, to be something completely different and brand new. That’s what Jesus brought with Him as He was born into this world; He brought with Him a clean slate, a fresh start, and something brand new to our lives and to our faith.
Today I invite you to come and take this imperfect advent journey with me to discover the beauty of the good and perfect gifts God has given us through His Son Jesus. Let us journey together to discover what those gifts are, how we can receive those gifts, and most importantly the importance of being a good steward of those gifts.