DayBreaks for 9/30/19: Pain and Joy
From the DayBreaks archive, September 2009:
How would you feel if someone that you couldn’t see showed up to your door one day and offered you a deal like this one: “Hi! I’m here to offer you a deal. I know that you are concerned for your children. Every loving parent is and you are clearly a loving parent. Here’s the deal I’ve got for you: I will guarantee you generations of descendants. I will make sure that they have a place to live. I will see to it that they are taken care of and loved forever. But, in order to have me do those things for you, your descendants will have to go through a few minor things, in particular, they’ll have to wait 400 years to get their land and in the meantime, they’ll be slaves to the most powerful nation on earth. How’s that sound? Do we have a deal?”
Chances are, you’d slam the door quickly and tell the visitor to “take a hike.” And you’d have plenty of company.
The scenario, of course, is not just a made-up story. It really happened to a man by the name of Abraham and it is recorded in Genesis 15:13-14. What is amazing is that Abraham essentially said, “Sure! Sounds like a deal to me!”
We could always marvel about this grand old man of the faith. He earned that nickname the hard way – by being tested and purified by the fire many times in his life. I doubt than many, if any, living today would want to go through the same kind of testing to earn a similar nickname to “father of the faithful.” But that’s not really the point that I’m after today.
I’m sure that it was great for Abraham to hear that his children and their descendants would be cared for and loved by God. But I’m also sure that it was very painful for him to hear about the 400 years of servitude that would precede their taking possession of the land of promise. And so, at one and the same time, Abraham’s descendants because both his greatest joy…and his greatest pain.
If you look back at your life, isn’t that how it’s worked for you? That the sources of your greatest joys become the sources also of your greatest pains, and that the things that have caused you the most pain often bring the greatest joys? As Dr. Gerald Schroeder wrote in The Science of God, “If we mistake pleasure to be the avoidance of pain, we may miss some of the greatest pleasures in life, such as reaching the peak of a mountain or rearing children. Ask parents the source of their greatest pleasure, and then ask them the source of their greatest pain. It’s their kids every time.”
For all the complaining and moaning we often do about the pain in our lives, maybe we’re just too short-sighted to reflect back on the pain later and see how God has turned it into joy.
PRAYER: Thank you for the many ways you teach us and for the fact that even our greatest pain can be turned into life’s greatest joy through your power! In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Copyright by 2019 by Galen C. Dalrymple. ><}}}”>