The paradox of pain and preparation ∙

The paradox of pain and preparation

For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! – 2 Corinthians 4:17

2 Corinthians 4:17-18

 17 For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison,

 18 while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.

Medical procedures involving surgery are done for many reasons. Surgery is performed for exploratory diagnosis, to remove, repair, or replace diseased tissues or organs, eliminate obstructions, repair or replace broken or diseased bones, trauma, etc. The goal is to save lives, improve the quality of life, and lessen suffering and pain.

After surgery, pain is natural. Managing and controlling that pain is crucial to your healing and recovery. Having a postoperative treatment plan may help reduce the risk of developing complications. When your pain is properly managed, your quality of life will be restored, and important tasks can be resumed normally.

God the Father, the designer and creator of humanity, has intimate knowledge of the human body, spirit, and psyche. Like a medical doctor who performs surgery to benefit the patient, so the Father performs “spiritual surgery” within for the betterment of each child of the King. Spiritual surgery and pain go hand-in-hand. Indeed, painful sorrow is often a fundamental part of spiritual surgery

When we understand how the Father uses pain in our development, we can have a life-changing paradigm shift. There are many areas where we choose to experience temporary pain to achieve an intended goal. In athletic endeavors, physical training involves effort and pain to prepare for competition. In farming, upfront hard work and exertion are required to produce a crop. The list could go on and on.

The Father uses adversity to produce His intended outcomes in and for us. His intention is not to harm us, but to strengthen us and develop our character. This is how Paul viewed his personal suffering. Paul learned the art and science of managing the pain of spiritual surgery.

“Paul’s afflictions were of course neither slight nor momentary in themselves. They were the burdensome and virtually constant accompaniment of his ministry. Yet by comparison with the weighty and eternal character of the glory being prepared for him, he saw them as but slight and momentary” (Kruse).

REFLECT & PRAY

Seeing things from the Father’s perspective changes everything. The Father prioritizes spiritual growth over ease and comfort. Affliction develops perseverance and proven character

Father, help me to learn to see things as they really are. Help me to see them as You do and be thankful.

INSIGHT

But there is more. While Paul’s struggles are both internal and external, he is focused upon the internal, unseen transformation. His inner nature is being renewed and strengthened. He has set his heart on the things which are not seen, rather than the things that are seen. Everything about a human being runs down or wears out with age with the singular exception of the spirit. As we grow through suffering, we become strong in our spirits.

Luke 1:80 And the child continued to grow and to become strong in spirit,

How ironic, the physical things that we see now appear permanent, but they are ethereal and do not last. Spiritual things, the human soul, that we cannot see last for eternity. What we see now is only temporary. The present momentary visible things of life paled for the apostle as he considered the future eternal invisible things on ahead (Constable).

Colossians 3:1-2

 1 Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand.

 2 Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth.

What we see often tempts us to be disheartened and even hopeless. By purposing to make paramount the unseen realities, we can avoid discouragement.

Romans 8:18-26

 18 Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later.

 19 For all creation is waiting eagerly for that future day when God will reveal who his children really are.

 23 And we believers also groan, even though we have the Holy Spirit within us as a foretaste of future glory, for we long for our bodies to be released from sin and suffering. We, too, wait with eager hope for the day when God will give us our full rights as his adopted children, including the new bodies he has promised us.

 24 We were given this hope when we were saved. (If we already have something, we don’t need to hope for it.

 25 But if we look forward to something we don’t yet have, we must wait patiently and confidently.)

 26 And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness.

People rarely think of suffering as profitable and see no reason to rejoice, but the Father does. Oftentimes adversity results in spiritual growth. In times of pain, the facade we typically display is withdrawn to expose who we truly are. As our security or comfort is shaken, our true priorities, pride, and self-reliant ways are revealed. God may use the opportunity to strip away everything we depend on until nothing competes with Jesus’ reign in our life (Stanley).

¯\_()_/¯ 09-22-9

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