“From pain to gain to joy”

This Weeks Meditation:  “From pain to gain to joy”
Read: 1 Peter 1:3-9

I have participated in many sports through the years and one
common theme that every coach stresses is “no pain, no gain.”
The idea is that you have to put in the hard work in order to
see the results come game time.  In some ways that theme works
in our spiritual lives as well; we learn from our mistakes, we
grow through times of pain and suffering, and we can often
grow closer to God if we place our trust in him.

That is what this passage in 1 Peter encourages us to
remember.  In verses 5-7 it says, “though now for a little
while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.
These have come so that your faith, of greater worth than
gold, which perishes even though refined by fire, may be
proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when
Jesus Christ is revealed.”

Yes, pain and suffering can help us grow stronger in our
faith, but that pain can also be damaging if it is not handled
in the correct manner.  I once heard someone say, “Don’t let
the pain of one season destroy the joy of all the rest.”  What
they meant by that is that we should use those difficult times
to grow but at some point we need to leave the hurt,
resentment, and hard feelings in our past.

In verse 8 Peter talks about “an inexpressible and glorious
joy” that we should have because of our salvation in Jesus
Christ.  Our salvation in Christ is what sets us free from the
pain of the past.  Jesus wants us to live in that freedom and
that joy instead of being burdened by the disappointments in
our life.

Pain in this world is real!  Suffering in this world is real!
But in John 16:17-33 there are some very powerful verses in
which Jesus describes to his disciples about how their grief
will turn to joy.  In verse 33 Jesus said, “I have told you
these things, so that in me you may have peace.  In this world
you will have trouble.  But take heart!  I have overcome the
world!”

There is no doubt that pain can bring us gain in many
different ways, but at some point we need to let go of the
pain and move into a new season of joy.  That joy is found in
the pages of God’s Word, the resurrected life of Jesus Christ,
and the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives.  That reminds
me of another saying, “No Christ, NO peace : Know Christ, Know
Peace!”

Make it personal:  If you’re going through an especially
difficult time right now I hope you will hear these words of
Jesus that were spoken for you and your situation.  Read 1
Peter 1:3-9 and John 16:17-33 and let God’s Word remind you
that He is there for you.  His peace is your peace!

Have a great week,
Glen Rhodes, Minister of Discipling and Community Life
Arthur Mennonite Church