Current Events Monday: When is Pain a Good Thing?
Aaron Rodgers opted out of wearing a traditional suit and strolled into his postgame press conference yesterday wearing a comfy robe. When questioned about his curious choice of attire, Rodgers humorously suggested that any quarterback who had taken such a beating as him deserved to dress more informally than not. Rodgers leads the Green Bay Packers, whose recent losing streak has provoked some unsettled feelings amongst fans. When questioned by the media about facing the tough Buffalo Bills in the next scheduled game, Rodgers admitted that he was not panicked at this point and iterated, “In fact, this might be the best thing for us.” Rodgers has a good point, the truth of which may extend well beyond the gridiron.
You can read more about Rodgers’s unorthodox press conference appearance by clicking on the link here:
The Apostle James spoke candidly about endurance amidst stark challenges in his biblical letter: “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” (James 1:2-4).
What does James’ words have in common with an NFL quarterback? Well, both recognize that immense challenges and pain can prepare us for the future. Obviously, we have much more on our plates this week as believers other than winning a football game. But the principal of perseverance remains consistent, no matter what. In fact, James would even have us to lump our pain into the category of joy! In other words, momentary losses are not comparable to the joy in front of us. God has us on a road to spiritual maturity. The bumps and bruises we accrue along the way may actually be that which sustains our spirit in the long run.
Take Jim and Jenny, for example (names changed). I was honored to pastor Jim, Jenny, and their family some years back. They endured tremendous challenges, including the loss of a child. Their parents also had running battles with cancer. I noticed one Sunday, after they had a particularly challenging week, that Jim and Jenny were singing a little louder than usually. Their prayers were voiced through tears. The Holy Spirit seemed to be all over them. Come to find out, Jim and Jenny were learning what it meant to grow in the Lord despite all their hardships. The harder the journey, the louder the praise. They were not going to let Satan steal their joy.
Sometimes, the trials we face begrudgingly today become the occasions for the immense joy in the Lord tomorrow. And the joy of the Lord truly is our strength.