I do not like pain. Of any kind.
I will go to great measures to avoid pain. Avoiding danger, rejection, or hurt of any kind, I look for the path of least resistance many times.
Recently, I watched as my husband disciplined our little puppy. I got mad at him because I thought he was being too harsh.
Lem said back to me, "If I don't train him now to do the right thing, he won't be an obedient dog."
He was right, but I didn't like to see my puppy get in trouble. I like the fun, the cuddling, the playing...not the disciplining.
I realized at that moment that I had a habit of trying to avoid pain and trying to help others avoid pain as well.
A heart of compassion is good, but it must be balanced with proper wisdom. I must know when to show compassion and when to realize that God will often bring suffering to bring the best possible fruit.
One of my children went through a very hard season recently. It broke me. I could not stand to see this child so unhappy and heart broken.
I would have given anything to make this child happy. Anything to save this child from suffering.
However, during this time, the Lord taught me so much about the need for suffering. The value in suffering. The discipline of suffering.
I watched my child grow closer to the Lord. I watched my child have more compassion on others that were suffering. I watched my child grow in character like nothing else would have grown them.
This child recently said to me, "I am glad I went through the painful season, Mom. It helped me to see things differently and change my heart in some ways."
More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. Romans 5:3-5
When we see those we love suffer, it breaks us. We try any measure to take their pain away. But, I am learning to pray them through the suffering instead of trying to rescue them from it.
I cannot rescue anyone. Only God can do this. Only God can see the big picture of the suffering. Who am I to try to step into the middle of what God is doing in the life of someone else?
Yes, we should be compassionate. Yes, we should help when we can. But, no, we should not try to rescue them from what God is doing through all of this. We will wear ourselves out trying to salve every wound and we will also keep the sufferer further and further from the fruit of that suffering.
Sometimes we do things that we should not be doing because we don't want to disappoint another person. We want to save that person from a little pain, so we end up walking a path or extending ourselves into places that God has not called us to. All for the sake of wanting to protect someone from a little pain.
In God's infinite wisdom, He has a purpose for the suffering. He has a purpose for the times when we have to say yes to God and no to another person.
When we try to please man and not God, we walk on dangerous ground. When we are not obedient in what He is telling us to do, we get out of His will and it's not a good place to be.
Pain is part of the process. Discipline yields fruit. Labor brings life.
For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. Hebrews 12:11
When I was in labor with my second child, I was rushed to the hospital. The doctor told me I needed to have a C-section immediately. I was petrified. I was so scared of being cut wide open on that table. I was fearful of the suffering that was looming ahead of me.
I looked over at my husband and said, "I can't do this, Lem! I am so scared! Please don't make me do this."
He took my hand and said, "Jill, there's only one option here. You have to do this to see your baby girl. You have to go through this to see her face. There is no other choice."
He was right.
When I saw her angelic face, I forgot about the pain. It quickly escaped my memory. All I saw was the sweet fruit of all of that labor. I would have done it a million more times to hold her in my arms.
For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison. 2 Corinthians 4:17
Once a little boy was playing outdoors and found a fascinating caterpillar. He carefully picked it up and took it home to show his mother. He asked his mother if he could keep it, and she said he could if he would take good care of it.
The little boy got a large jar from his mother and put plants to eat, and a stick to climb on, in the jar. Every day he watched the caterpillar and brought it new plants to eat.
One day the caterpillar climbed up the stick and started acting strangely. The boy worriedly called his mother who came and understood that the caterpillar was creating a cocoon. The mother explained to the boy how the caterpillar was going to go through a metamorphosis and become a butterfly.
The little boy was thrilled to hear about the changes his caterpillar would go through. He watched every day, waiting for the butterfly to emerge. One day it happened, a small hole appeared in the cocoon and the butterfly started to struggle to come out.
At first the boy was excited, but soon he became concerned. The butterfly was struggling so hard to get out! It looked like it couldn’t break free! It looked desperate! It looked like it was making no progress!
The boy was so concerned he decided to help. He ran to get scissors, and then walked back (because he had learned not to run with scissors…). He snipped the cocoon to make the hole bigger and the butterfly quickly emerged!
As the butterfly came out the boy was surprised. It had a swollen body and small, shriveled wings. He continued to watch the butterfly expecting that, at any moment, the wings would dry out, enlarge and expand to support the swollen body. He knew that in time the body would shrink and the butterfly’s wings would expand.
But neither happened!
The butterfly spent the rest of its life crawling around with a swollen body and shriveled wings.
It never was able to fly…
As the boy tried to figure out what had gone wrong his mother took him to talk to a scientist from a local college. He learned that the butterfly was SUPPOSED to struggle. In fact, the butterfly’s struggle to push its way through the tiny opening of the cocoon pushes the fluid out of its body and into its wings.
Without the struggle, the butterfly would never, ever fly. The boy’s good intentions hurt the butterfly.
letting it be,