By Joyell Nevins – CFFM Staff Blogger
With God, there is always victory and goodness. But, that victory is not always easily won (actually, it’s rarely easily won). We often have to push through, not jump over, challenges, to get to where we want to go.
I see this truth lived out every month at the chiropractor. The older I get, and the more time I spend in front of a computer, the more cricks in my neck I keep waking up with…divine health and movement is still coming to me!
To help the situation, I have found an amazing chiropractor whose adjustments put everything back in place (he does in the physical what Jesus does in the spiritual!).
However, his adjustments – they’re rough. It is not a pleasant experience: quite the opposite, in fact. There are pops and movements and noises that I had no idea my body was capable of! All I want to do is say, get me off of this table!
But, I endure the uncomfortability, and I choose to let the chiropractor adjust what he needs to adjust. Why? Because the payoff is worth the pain.
I can tell a difference in how I sleep, how I work, and even how I drive after I have been adjusted. I am better for having gone through the struggle. So, I continue to put myself on the chiropractic table and let the doctor do what he does, because I know in the end, there will be a benefit.
That’s the choice Jesus made when he went to the cross.
“…let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:1-2 NKJV
He knew what the result would be (or at least had an inkling), of how he would pay for our sins and we could have a relationship with the Father and the Son because of his sacrifice. For Jesus, the payoff was worth the pain.
Everyone Goes Through Something
Pastor Kevin Guigou reminds us that endurance is not a second class privilege. There is victory that comes through Jesus, and more than abundant life, but sometimes you have to be stretched and slog through the sludge to get there.
In the Bible, Israel’s King David (of David and Goliath) was also king of the highs and lows. Reading through the Psalms is like riding a rollercoaster at Six Flags – from a pause at the top to see incredible scenery to a plunge into what feels like certain death. In one of King David’s most beloved psalms (songs), he actually describes his life as walking through a valley, overshadowed by darkness.
“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death…” Psalms 23:4
If King David, a man after God’s own heart, and Jesus Christ, God’s only begotten son, had to go through some dark days, it’s likely we will have to, too. Actually, it’s guaranteed multiple times in the Bible that as a Christian (and really as a human), we will have to endure suffering.
The Payoff is Coming
BUT just like how after my chiropractor’s contortions, I feel better and sleep sounder, when we go through trials with the Lord, there’s a payoff that comes then, too. The same Psalm where David is walking through the valley of the shadow of death, he ends the trek with goodness, mercy, and fulfillment.
“My cup runs over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” Psalms 23:5B-6 NKJV
In the book of James, the disciple James encouraged his Christian brothers and sisters that they should consider challenges and trials a joy because of what was coming behind it!
“Consider it a great joy, my brethren, whenever you experience various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. But endurance must do its complete work, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing.” James 1:2-4 HCSB
Where have you seen this come true in your own life? What lessons have you learned by pushing through a difficult challenge? What relationships have been strengthened by not giving up? What knowledge has been gained by doing the work necessary to garner it?
God isn’t so good that He promises an easy life, but He’s so good that He promises a life filled with love and hope coming through the struggle.
“Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we also have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance, and perseverance, character, and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” Romans 5:1-4 NKJV
Image by YouVersion Bible