If you’ve ever been part of anything remotely athletic before, you’ve probably heard the phrase “No Pain, No Gain”. Coaches chant it in the gym, on the field or a track. It naturally flows from their mouths. The athlete gets overextended and the chanting begins. It’s almost as if you’re required to know how to use this phrase to even be a coach! They’re essentially saying, “I know it hurts. It’s supposed to. Push through to greater things on the other side of this.” You, as the recipient of this encouragement, don’t really feel like hearing it at the moment. But, when all is said and done, after the painful experience is over, you really are better at “whatever” for having pushed through. Triumph has to cost you something. If it didn’t, was it really a triumph worthy situation?
Life is not easy. This world has a way of bringing you to your knees. It hurls accusations against you. You’re not sure who to trust. The economy is all over the place. Let’s not even try to figure out the government. It’s just tough! I can certainly see why “life coaches” are becoming more popular with people. Folks just need help getting life itself on track. The Greatest Life Coach that ever lived said this to some of His pupils. “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33 NLT) Jesus, knowing all, knew that things were going to get tough for people. He knew that we would basically be foreigners in this land because of our allegiance to Him. But, He left us with the ultimate encouragement. “I have overcome the world.” None to ever walk this earth before or after Him can make this claim. If you belong to Him, you too are an overcomer! Let me explain. We have done absolutely nothing to earn His favor. You simply cannot work for it or be “good enough”. You just simply choose Him to be Lord of your life. When you do this, all of His promises in His Word become your’s.
So, He’s already told us that things are going to be hard. What do we do when we’re starting to sink? We reach out to our Lord and anchor ourselves to His unfailing Word. “Then Peter called to him, ‘Lord, if it’s really you, tell me to come to you, walking on the water.’ ‘Yes, come,’ Jesus said. So Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus. But when he saw the strong wind and the waves, he was terrified and began to sink. ‘Save me, Lord!’ he shouted. Jesus immediately reached out and grabbed him. ‘You have so little faith,’ Jesus said. ‘Why did you doubt me?’” (Matthew 14:28-31 NLT) This is a prime example of how Jesus will allow us to enter a situation that may be over our heads, but He’s right there ready to step in when things get tough. At least Peter tried! For a short time, he was actually walking on water! Notice when he took his eyes off Jesus and put them on the tumultuous weather, that’s when he started sinking? Isn’t that what we do? Whatever you focus on becomes “stronger” to you.
When parents teach their kids to ride a bicycle, there’s always tumbles, scraped hands and knees and the occasional crash. All the while, mom or dad is keeping their eyes intently on the child. This is how they learn. There’s definitely pain involved but the freedom of riding that bike to a friend’s house makes it all worthwhile. Life’s toughness is what ultimately makes us tougher. We gain wisdom when we go through situations and draw from the never ending well of The Lord. We learn to trust God when all seems impossible and then He makes a way! “What do you mean, ‘If I can’?’ Jesus asked. ‘Anything is possible if a person believes.’” (Mark 9:23 NLT) The more you learn to rely on Him and not yourself, the more natural it becomes.
Painful experiences are inevitable in this world. It’s not easy to go through hardships. It’s even harder when you’re not walking through it with One who can make the crooked places straight. But no matter what, He’s right there with you if you choose. He will take the pain and turn out good things from it. “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” (Romans 8:28 NLT) He’s right there cheering you on. The ultimate coach reminding us that there’s always gain through the pain.
Today’s writer is Brandi Crowe. A hairdresser for over 25 years, she is currently the owner of Brandi Crowe salon in Buford, GA. She loves hiking, a good cup of coffee, and spending time with family and friends. Brandi lives in a custom farmhouse with her husband Robby and cat Harold.