Lighten Your Load: Do Away With Double Pain
Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering,
as though something strange were happening to you.
1 PETER 4:12
No one wants to suffer – no one enjoys suffering – it is even worse when we are taken by surprise – blindsided by the painful trial – there is no perfect time to fit suffering into your schedule.
I found that whenever I encountered a trial or affliction, I not only would experience the pain of the affliction but I would then experience shock (I absolutely hate surprises), anger (I was angry that I even had to go through this) and then resistance to the affliction.
Then one day, in the midst of our darkest valley, a friend gave me the book, Let Go by Fenelon and I read his following words:
“A cross which comes from God ought to be welcomed without any concern for self. And when you accept your cross this way, even though it is painful, you will find that you can bear it in peace. But when you receive your cross unwillingly, you will find it to be doubly severe. The resistance within is harder to bear than the cross itself! But if you recognize the hand of God, and make no opposition to His Will, you will have peace in the midst of affliction. Happy indeed are they who can bear their sufferings with this simple peace and perfect submission to the will of God! Nothing so shortens and soothes suffering as this spirit of non-resistance.”
WOW! It was another AHA moment for me. Suddenly, I realized that not only did I carry the pain of our affliction – something that I did not choose nor could I change – but I also compounded and intensified my pain with my anger and resistance – something I chose to feel and I could change. I was choosing to carry double and triple pain when I only needed to carry the single pain of the affliction, which provided enough pain by itself.
When I finally accepted the affliction, trusted and submitted to the will of God – knowing that nothing happens to me that first does not pass through His Hands – my anger and resistance dissipated. This shift in perspective and position lightened the extra load I was carrying – I actually experienced peace in the midst of the affliction.
“Choices. Choices make the difference. Two people are in the same accident and severely wounded. They did not choose to be in the accident. It happened to them. But one of them chose to live the experience in bitterness, the other in gratitude. These choices radically influenced their lives and the lives of their families and friends. We have very little control over what happens in our lives, but we have a lot of control over how we integrate and remember what happens. It is precisely these spiritual choices that determine whether we live our lives with dignity.”
We always have a Spiritual choice. Whenever we face affliction and pain, while we may initially respond with our flesh in anger and resistance, we can shed the weight of our negative emotions by turning our eyes upon Jesus – trusting Him – a Spiritual Choice. As we consider Him who endured unbelievable suffering, we, too, can endure the journey through suffering.
Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author, and perfecter of our faith,
who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame,
and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men,
so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”