|The Labor Pains Payoff - #6986|
|A Word With You - Your Hard Times|
Monday, October 21, 2013
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You know, most of us have heard words something like this when we're going through a hard time, "Oh, I understand how you feel." Maybe you have muttered under your breath, "No you don't." One situation in which those words should probably never be spoken, are a man to a woman in labor. Yeah, that's right! Now, I've been through labor with my wife three times, but I can not say I understand how she felt. Labor is easier for some women than others I understand, but having a baby is not easy for anybody. I still remember vividly our first time around the maternity track. My wife's increasingly frequent contractions and the trip to the hospital, and then the hours of intensifying pain, and then the last most intense pains of all. And suddenly, a baby girl! Now, I know it's easy for me to say, but I know my wife would agree. It was a painful process with a glorious result. And you know, the result has lasted a lot longer than the pain.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "The Labor Pains Payoff."
Our word for today from the Word of God comes from Romans chapter 8. Here we're going to meet a man with the credentials to talk about pain, about hard times. Paul has been brutally slandered, he's been beaten, he's been attack, he's been left for dead, he's been arrested on false charges, he's been in prison unjustly, been ship wrecked, deserted. What a list!
In Romans 8 he talks about "our present sufferings." And he even speaks symbolically of this world "groaning as if in the pains of childbirth." And then later on in the chapter he mentions trouble, hardship, famine, sword, and then he says this, "In all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us." How can that be with all the worst pain in life? It goes back to a God-given perspective on the pain of your life. And that's in Romans 8:28 . He says, "And we know that all things are working together for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to God's purpose."
So, what's the good in the pain? Well, it says, "For those God foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of His Son." In other words, the good that comes out of the pain is to make you what this world needs so desperately; someone who is more like Jesus.
Now, God doesn't send all the pain; some of it He allows. But it can't come to you unless your Heavenly Father okays it. And how does God decide what He will allow to come into your life? I think He's asking, "Could this make him or her more like Jesus?"
My consistent experience has been that the hardest things I've gone through have been God's most powerful tools in my life: faith, humility, compassion, mercy, learning the power of prayer, closeness to Jesus. They have been the blessed results of pain that made me know and trust God as never before. And like the pain of our daughter's arrival, my wife has enjoyed the result a lot longer than she had to endure the pain.
Because God's agenda in our lives is eternity, not just seventy years. The payoff will always be much greater than the pain. You may be in a hurting time right now and you don't have a choice. But it really matters what you focus on. If you focus on the pain you're going to become bitter and self-focused, and burned out, and worn out, and negative. But if you focus on how God can use this pain to make you more like Jesus, you'll have the baby that the pain is supposed to give you. The tragedy will be if you get the pain but you miss the point. We've enjoyed our daughter for many years. Not a bad payoff for a relatively few hours of a painful process.
If you're hurting today, remember that your loving Father, who sent His Son to die in your place, is using your hurt to bring about a beautiful result, which you will be enjoying long after the process is a distant memory.