No pain, no gain. Right? I guess. The problem is, I want the gain, but I sure don’t like the pain.
This past week, Laura and I were lamenting, yet again, the empty-nest syndrome with Will and Michaela moving to Cambodia, Luke and his fiancé going back to Bloomington, and Anna now house sitting for a friend for a couple of months. And then last night we got hit with 7-8” of snow, and it’s C-O-L-D!
I’m sitting at my dining room table looking out the back window at all the snow which fell from the night sky while we slept. It looks like a large, white blanket that covers the ground and brings a sense of calm and quiet with its absorption of outside sounds. The earth lies dormant. Life withdrawn into the recesses of the ground. The pain of winter abounds. But the gain of spring will soon come.
The cycle of nature, created by God, reflects the cycle of life. The pain of loss will one day give way to the gain of restoration. Darkness folds into the rising sun. Grief absorbs into hope for resurrection.
This is why we must … not … give … up. “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up” (Galatians 6:9, ESV). “Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him” (James 1:12, NIV). “You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised” (Hebrews 10:36, NIV).
Whatever your pain may be, give it over to the Lord, for there is gain which is yet to come. Our pain, grief, loss, and struggle prepare us, shape us, mold us for resurrection life. The late Eugene Peterson once wrote,
We don’t become mature human beings by getting lucky or cleverly circumventing loss,
and certainly not by avoidance and distraction. Learn to lament. Learn this
lamentation. We’re mortals, after all. We and everyone around are scheduled for
death (mortis). Get used to it. Take up your cross. It prepares us and those around us
for resurrection (Quoted by Peter Scazerro, Emotionally Healthy Spirituality Day by Day:
A 40-Day Journey with the Daily Office).
This moment of your pain is but that—a moment in the passing of time. But the snow will melt. The grass will turn green. The flowers will bloom. And God will make all things new (Revelation 21:5). Until then, we “run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus” (Hebrews 12:1-2, ESV).