When, Not If

“Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ's sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy.”

1 Peter 4:12-13  

Studying for Mother’s Day this Sunday I am aware it is painful for many. There are women who wanted children but could not have them. Women who lost a child during their pregnancy or even after. Children who have lost their mother and she is not present to be celebrated. For others their mother is not in their life, and some simply live far away. There are Moms whose children have gone astray which makes the day hard too. Mothers Day is a wonderful day to celebrate motherhood and women in general, and we will knowing for many the day can be painful too.

I was thinking about the pain associated with childbearing and just being a Mom in general while reading from 2 Corinthians 4:17-18 which says, “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” No matter how good or bad life is, it’s only temporary.

In other words the apostle Paul is exhorting the church to remember something extremely important “when, not if” we are afflicted in this life. The apostle is reminding us whatever affliction we may suffer, and suffer we will to some extent in our lifetime, to recall that it is a “light momentary affliction” meaning it too shall pass. Every mom who has given birth says “amen”. And not only will it pass, but God is using any and every painful situation we encounter to prepare us for something better! God never, and I repeat never wastes a hurt! Just think, whatever suffering you or I will face is actually working for our benefit, for our eternal good and glory! We might not understand what or why we are going through whatever it is we are going through at the moment but we can trust that God is using it all for His glorious purposes concerning us and our eternal joy!

Dr. Brand and Phillip Yancey wrote a book titled, “Pain, The Gift Nobody Wants” and Dr. Brand wrote something that echoed what I believe the apostle Paul was writing about. He said, “Pain is not the enemy, but the loyal scout announcing the enemy. Pain truly is the gift nobody wants. On my travels I have observed an ironic law of reversal at work: as a society gains the ability to limit suffering, it loses the ability to cope with what suffering remains...The average Indian villager knows suffering well, expects it, and accepts it as an unavoidable challenge of life. In a remarkable way the people of India have learned to control pain at the level of the mind and spirit, and have developed endurance that we in the West find hard to understand. Westerners, in contrast, tend to view suffering as an injustice or failure, an infringement on their guaranteed right to happiness.”

A great reminder today for me and you, loved one. “When, not if” we suffer remember God doesn’t waste a hurt. Pain really is a gift nobody wants but God uses it to help loosen our grasp on this life and to help us lay hold of the life to come. Education is supposed to help us be prepared for this life (which is important in the temporal sense) where God on the other hand is preparing us not only for this life but more importantly, He is preparing us for eternity, the life to come!  God uses not only what we see but as well everything we can’t and don’t see to prepare us. That’s why we must walk by faith and not by sight.

The bottom line is this, join me in praying for the Mom’s out there and lets be sensitive this Mother’s Day remembering, everyone hurts and is why we need to be kinder than necessary as everyone we meet is fighting some kind of up hill battle. Yes, we will all face trials and suffering in life but none of us has to go through the difficult times alone as Jesus promised us He will be there right by our side. We can come along side people too! I’ll leave you with a simple exercise you can do when you face a trial or are just hurting inside. Stand up, reach out, reach up, let go, and let God! Stand with God today, walk with Him, enjoy praying and talking with Him pouring out your heart and listening to Him in His Word. Reach out to God and as well, make contact with others and then just let it all go, give it all to God. Stand up, reach out, reach up, let go and let God. It’s the best exercise you can get! And don’t forget to breathe!

“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.”

Jeremiah 29:11


Michael Osthimer





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