The new year has started in all respects as learners returned to schools. Social media is flooded with posts, images and pictures of eager (some not so eager) learners embarking on this years academic journey. I’ve heard my daughter Samantha repeating: Teacher Monica is “My Best Teacher ever!”
Whether the journey we are embarking on this year is academic achievement or growth in any area eg. our career, walk with God, economic growth etc. there will be discomfort. Certainly there can be no growth in comfort. Are we prepared to go after our desires and pay the required price or are we deluded into thinking that we can simply just wish for it?
With 2019 in it’s second week, the resolve with which many New Year’s resolutions were made, is already fading. The best intentions sometimes remain just that.I read and heard quite a few statements or desires this week expressing the wish that 2019 be a year filled with “peace, happiness, prosperity “etc. While these are wonderful things and we all certainly want this, the question that comes to mind is “Can these attributes be attained without some sort of struggle, sacrifice or pain?”
My Best Teacher
As an English language teacher, I know that a common topic for essays is “My Favourite Teacher”. Most often, pupils write about a teacher who is nice and friendly and makes the time in classroom enjoyable. Stricter teachers who are always working and instilling discipline in the learners rank much lower on the “favourite”scale. Without oversimplifying the reasons of what makes a “favourite “teacher, it will generally be along these lines mentioned.I am sure we can all recall who our favourite teacher at school was and the reasons why. Was this also your “BEST“teacher?
Favourite vs Best
The best teachers are often, those who push you all the time to do your best. The easy road, is not promoted and often much work is given in pursuit of attaining higher levels. The best teachers are the ones we learn the most from. This is true in life as well. God often teaches us what we can only learn through trials and tests.
As in school, we can only progress to the next grade when we write and pass a test or exam. In fact, the whole aim of the academic year is passing the examination at the end of the year. Why are we unaware of the fact that any type of growth will demand sitting for an examination? The test measures what we have learnt and determines our advancement or not. We will not proceed to a higher level until we’ve learnt the lesson. We will simply get to take it again, until we pass.
I am sure many will agree with me, that “PAIN” is the best teacher.It is ironic that we want to avoid pain at all costs when it is often our greatest asset and teacher. We view pain or discomfort as the thing to avoid at all costs. Why then does the Bible teach us that we should “Consider it pure joy when you face trials of many kinds” in James 1:2. We are told to be “very happy” when we are tested in different ways. Verse 3 goes on to give us the reason why we should be very happy for the tests: “because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance” Your endurance or patience has a chance to grow. ” So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.” – verse 4 .
Pain is most often an indicator that something is wrong. Pain locates the problem area. It is pain that causes us to seek out our Doctor if it is physical pain. We do this because we need to cure this and fix what is broken, infected or diseased. We can avoid going to the doctor by taking pain killers or anesthetizing the pain. This however is a temporary solution which often masks the worsening of the real problem.
Emotional pain is also an indicator of a spiritual wound. Just as our bodies’ immune system constantly fights off infection and disease, so our souls are facing attacks launched against our minds and emotions. Seeking out the Doctor will not help this pain, but we have to run to our HEALER, JESUS. He will wash our wounds with the water of HIS WORD. He will pour fourth the BALM OF GILEAD over our wounds and RESTORE our souls. He will RENEW our minds with His WORD and shield us against our enemies.” He is a shield to those who walk with integrity” Proverbs 2:7.
Pain will cause us to seek change only when the pain of remaining becomes greater than the pain of changing. As long as we are able to bear the pain, we will keep anesthetizing the pain until the underlying cause deteriorates to such an extent that we have no choice but to go to the healer. It may then be so bad, that the cure will be drastic, such as amputation or extraction.
Pain then,when heeded, can be your greatest agent as it will force you to restoration and renewal and revival.
TIME THE GREATEST TRAINER
When we seek healing, be it for physical,emotional, financial or relational pain, time is always required. Like a cake that goes into the oven requires a set time to be baked to perfection, we are required to persevere or endure as 1 James teaches us. There is a lesson in this pain, something that needs mending, strengthening or correcting. While our salvation is an instant miracle in which our spirits are saved, growth in our souls, is a labour of time. Waiting on the Lord trains us to develop the quieter virtues of submission, humility, patience , joyful endurance and persistence in well-doing. These virtues need the incubator of time, in order to develop.Stay anchored to your hope in Jesus and be anxious for nothing.
GIANTS REMAIN IN THE LAND
We often wonder why God allows us to go through pain and trials and might get angry at God for certain unjust and unfair situations.We wonder why God does not take our pain away. We think that because He loves us, He would naturally remove our pain. We forget that God is not natural but supernatural, so what seems natural or logical to us , does not apply to the Creator of the universe. As created beings, we cannot hold the CREATOR to our standards. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways” Isaiah 55:9
God has a purpose and a plan for our lives that no devil or demon can thwart. He will be exalted in the earth Psalm 46:10 . Everything He does is aimed at fulfilling His purpose for your life and to be exalted through you. The pain He sometimes allows is designed to prepare you for your destiny in Him. He has to perfect your character so that you can represent Him well. “For His name sake” appears in many scriptures and simply indicates that His Name will be exalted thereby. When God tests your character, He needs to know whether He can trust you with the blessing. He has prepared the blessing for you, but He has to prepare you for the blessing.
When you have STOOD the trial by fire, you will come forth as pure gold if you were gold going into the fire. Your metal is tested. If you were made of perishable material such as wood, you will perish in the fire for God is a consuming fire. He sets the pass requirement in His WORD. If these requirements are not met, you get to take the test again. As in the natural world, the grace period has a limit and there comes a time that you will be disqualified. “Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.“Matt 7:19
Your promised land is yours for the taking.He leaves giants in the land for your good. Those giants are there to defeat some issues that you are not ready to defeat on your own. You require God’s help and this teaches you to depend upon Him for your deliverance. Your faith is developed and built in this way because without faith it is impossible to please God. Your promised land is inhabited by “lions” that need to be killed by the giants God left in the land because if lions multiply, the pride grows.
Your pain is thus your purifying agent, your humbling seasoning lest your pride makes you think that the blessing is a result of your efforts and talents.
THERE WILL BE PAIN
God never promised a life without pain. He did promise that He will be with us in the fire.”When pass through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you.” Isaiah 43:2(NLT) His promise is that He will be with us and take us THROUGH!
We will have pain: either the pain of discipline or the pain of regret. So as we reach to achieve our desires or goals for the new year and beyond, let us view pain as our ally. As a famous saying goes “when the student is ready, the teacher will show up”. My prayer is that we resolve to have a teachable spirit and learn from our Great Father and our Saviour Jesus Christ who gifted us the Holy Spirit who teaches us all things. (John 14:26).
Every birthing process is preceded by pain. When the pain intensifies, it is often an indicator that birthing is imminent. The pain will get worse just before it gets better. After the pain, a new thing has emerged in your life. This new thing is better than it’s predecessor. God is shifting things around in your life, positioning you for better. He is getting you into position for His blessing and His purpose. The Bible promises us that our latter days will be greater than our former. Trust God in the painful seasons of your life, knowing that if you are submitted to His will and His word, He will bless you beyond what your current pain can allow you to imagine. (Eph 3:20)
I know that we have all faced trials and tests in our lives at one time or another. Please share your testimony with us and your lessons learnt so as to encourage others, or send prayerful requests to email@example.com
God bless you and crown all your efforts with success in 2019 as we heed the Word of the Lord.