Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Love and Pain

Pain can be the road we take that leads us to the opportunity for extraordinary ministry.

When I was younger the phrase "Whatever doesn't kill you, makes you stronger." was made popular in movies and popular culture. I still hear it from time to time. Most of the time it just seems like a catch-phrase we use to encourage ourselves or others to persevere in some hard endeavor. As is often the case, my reaction was to question and I wondered why stronger is a goal we might aspire to attain. Back to the Book.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.
-- James 1:2-3

Okay, this is pretty close. Perseverance, we know from other Scriptures, is a good step on the road to servanthood. So I suppose a loose interpretation of stronger is that we are able to persevere. That isn't what struck me in about the way James put it though.

Why on earth should we be considering the trials ( a.k.a. the pain) to be any kind of joy, let alone pure joy? Because as we struggle, as we work and endure, our eyes are not on the trial, but on the end goal. The person we are being shaped into becoming.

Leave it to me, to lose all your confidence
And no i can't stop, this train wreck before it hits
I hope I don't sound, like the X's on your calendar
I stumble on new ground, to gather up the formula

Fate, faith
You and me
Love and pain
Fate, faith
You and me
Love and pain
Even I know, there's a line between emotion and
Fate, faith
You and me
Love and pain

How selfish of me, to think I'm the only one
To question mistakes, a fools game I'm losing now
Just taking my time, planning out my escape
I'm scared what I'll find but it's the choice I have to make

We can't control what we are
It's not our place, it's out of our hands

-- Love and Pain by New Found Glory

If your motivation is correct, then work (read: pain) will make you stronger. It will shape you and build you up. It will equip you so that your service will suffice. Conversely, if your motivation is only for your own betterment, you will see only surface gain. The suffering will truly be a trial. It will become something you must persevere through instead of something that brings you joy.

I'll take the pain because of my love. I'll face the fate because of my faith and the hurt to honor Him. Servanthood is never simple.

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