Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Ow! (01/07/10)
TITLE: Productive Pain
By Ruth Thoutenhoofd
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If it’s true, then my question is, “Why do I make such a consistent effort to avoid pain of any kind at all cost?” I have a headache, I take a pill or drink a cup of coffee. I don’t like headaches! I don’t like walking in the rain but I know I need to exercise, so I spend the money and join a gym. My old computer crashes and I have a new laptop the next day. I don’t feel connected to the world without my computer!
Brennan Manning (2005) states in “The Ragamuffin Gospel” that there is no growth without pain and no integrity without self-denial. I’m wondering if I believe this. For certain I want to grow and even more certainly I want to be used of God. I want my life to be one of integrity - mean what I say and say what I mean. On the other hand I don’t want to be in pain or even be uncomfortable or inconvenienced. Logically then, I can assume that it’s more important to me to be comfortable than to grow or be useful to the Kingdom of God.
It's comforting to know that God knows this about me. He knows my frailty and inconsistencies. He knows how torn I feel about this, and how much of a failure I am to act on what I believe in my head. He has a solution: He lovingly creates pain in my life that I have little or no power to avoid or control. People who I loved have died young. My husband struggled with arthritis and got two new hips before his 60th birthday. My children and grandchildren have mostly been called overseas. I have quite severe insomnia. The ministry God has called us to is often stressful. Ow!
Through these and many other uncomfortable things in my life, I get to choose to grow and be used of God, or to lose faith, be unhappy most of the time, hurt the people around me and destroy what God is trying to do through my life. Thankfully, (because this ability also is provided by my loving Father), more often than not, I choose to grow. The fruit of that choice is His business!
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