Sister to Sister: No Pain, No Gain



Dear Sister,

"No pain, no gain" is a saying that I heard a lot last year.  Whether it was on a t-shirt, a friend jokingly reminded me or I heard it in a conversation, it sure showed up around me quite often.

 Perhaps one area that I apply it to the most is as I'm working on school and deadlines are fast approaching and I'm far behind.  I whisper "No pain, no gain" to myself and forge ahead, determined to finish all the projects before the midnight hour.

But what about chronic illness?  Does that fall under that "No pain, no gain" category?  When I first considered that, I immediately wanted to shake my head and refuse to consider it further.  Somehow it keeps coming up, though.  So I turned to Scriptures to see what I could find on this topic.  Quite a bit, it turns out:

  
Those are only a few.  Turns out, God's Word talks about trials, pain and suffering quite a bit - even more than I first imagined! 

But can I really accept that God can use my chronic illness for His glory?  For conforming me more like His Son?  I want to shake my head and run away from such thoughts.

Then I'm reminded - God is more concerned about my holiness than my happiness.  Don't get me wrong - God isn't a God who is sternly watching over us and fiercely punishing us and never giving grace.  Just the opposite!  So when I take a step back to pause and reflect on all this, I realize - isn't intense suffering and pain what my Savior suffered while on the cross?

And not just on the cross but on the cross for me!  For you!

No pain, no gain.  Jesus suffered on that cross so that you could have gain – fellowship with Him and life everlasting.

It’s not all just pain though.  There’s grace.  His abundant, overflowing grace for you.  When I find myself acting selfishly or sinning once again, it’s His grace that reminds me that I don’t deserve the cross.  I don’t deserve it, that’s for sure but oh, am I grateful that He chose to bleed on it!

I don’t know what season of life He has you in right now but one thing I am sure of – He’s there for you no matter the pain or difficulties.  His grace is for you. 

Cheering you on in the Good Fight, dear sister!

Your sister,

Joanna


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