One of the joys of being a pastor is having the opportunity to be present in members’ lives. Pastors have the pleasure of being included in celebrations where families rejoice over weddings and new life. We are also honored to walk with people and support them lovingly as they go through some of the greatest tests, challenges and losses of their lives. Even in the difficult times, one counts it an honor to be included in the faith journey of those around them.
On one such occasion, I met with a young mother who was going through an extremely difficult time medically. She shared that she regretted moving forward with trying to correct her condition surgically because the residual pain and complications seemed to leave her in a worse state than when she started. Tearfully, she shared that if she had it to do over again, she never would make the same choice.
I reminded her that on life’s journey, we often feel the same way that she felt while we are in the middle of our storms and tests. It is at our lowest when we find ourselves wishing we were six years old, on the playground and asking God for a “do over” to make an entirely different decision – or set of decisions. We struggle to find future good in the midst of present pain.
I shared with her that six months from now she may find that she feels stronger than she’s ever felt; I encouraged her to not allow today’s pain to convince her that tomorrow has no promise. God is a strategic God. He is so wonderful and all knowing that like the superb parent He is, He knows His children!
God knew that if He allowed a first time mother to fully comprehend the pain of labor and delivery before she conceived, chances are many women would never attempt to have a child for fear they could not survive the pain.
If God showed every couple in love every conflict and issue their marriage would have before they said, “I do,” many would find themselves saying, “I don’t” and “I wont.” Even in the Bible we know that if God had told Moses ahead of time that all he would need to turn the sea into a highway was a big stick, Moses would have rolled his eyes and stayed right in the desert instead of going to fulfill the purpose for which he was born.
Some of the pain that you and I are facing is nothing more than growing pains and if we hold on, we will see the power, presence and provision of God.
This week, I leave you with the words of 2 Corinthians 4:17-19. In this instance I am using The Message ® translations so that even our youngest readers receive the message of hope and the importance of not having regrets.
“So we’re not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace. These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. There’s far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can’t see now will last forever.”