I remember going through labor with my third child, Natacia. The pain was so excruciating (no epidural) that I became delirious and attempted to get up off the delivery bed and walk out of the hospital room (true story.) Pain can have us thinking illogically and unreasonable. I told the nurse, in the middle of labor, that I would come back tomorrow to have the baby. Hilarious. She ignored my nonsense and told me to keep on pushing. I was insulted by her relaxed attitude to my pain. But she knew that had she agreed with me, I would have given up and walked away from the gift that was just around the corner, ready to arrive. She also knew that if I had stopped pushing, it would have affected Natacia’s heart rate, which could have been fatal. She became my calm voice of reason in my pain. She told me the pain was my best-friend informing me that a gift is coming. She coached me into embracing the pain and encouraged me to push with each visit that I received from this unwanted “friend.” I did just as she coached me to do, and today Natacia is a smart, beautiful, 13-year-old teen.
The struggles we experience in life will make us want to run and keep on running, not stopping until we get to a faraway place. Difficulty in marriage, school, relationships, health, finances, and even self-worth make us feel like throwing in the towel and abandon the ship.
But what if the struggle is a set up that leads to victory? What if the difficulty you are trying to run from is precisely what you need to get you to where you are supposed to be? I’m not saying God assigns all struggles, but God will use our hardships to put us in a position to birth His promises for our lives.
After Joseph was in Egypt for years as a slave and then as a falsely accused prisoner, the day would come when he would meet those responsible for his hardship. I love Joseph’s response to his brothers:
“You intended to harm me, BUT God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” Genesis 50:20 NIV
Joseph’s struggles led him to significance, influence, and impact which was, “the saving of many lives.” Joseph’s hardships helped to position him to become the leader in the nation where he was once a slave and a prisoner. God uses even adverse situations to bring about His perfect purpose for our lives.
So many people abandon the ship just before the promise. Like I wanted to do while giving birth. We want to give up and quit the very process that’s necessary to lead us into what God has destined for us.
As that nurse was for me years ago, I am for you today, a calm voice of reasoning to tell you not to give in, don’t abandon ship, your destiny is counting on you. The pain and difficulty you feel today is a momentary affliction that you will overcome if you push through to the other side.
When was the last time you pressed – despite all adversities – to the other side? Have you become complacent and find yourself negotiating which levels of pain you are willing to accept? Leverage your pain to propel you into a better version of yourself.
“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9
Lord, I pray for the strength to endure. I stand on your word that your grace for me is sufficient to see me through each struggle that life brings. I reject the desire to give up and abandon the very process necessary to develop me for all that you have for me.