Doing flows from being, and being flows from thinking.
"For as a man thinks in his heart so is he."
couple weeks ago I set out to answer this question about what to do when you're going through. I recognize that people need tools they can use and not simply platitudes and quips. Nevertheless, I also recognize that a great deal of what a person does flows from who he/she actually is. In other words, doing flows from being, and being flows from thinking. So, correct action flows from correct reflection. Therefore the first order of business when I'm "going through it" is to get my mind right. "For as a man thinks in his heart so is he" (
). This is why I started this series about "
." The goal is that we would first establish a philosophical framework (or mindset) for growth in the midst of hardship. So be sure to read my
wherein I tried to really flesh out the first to maxims. Here we'll take a closer look at the last two. This is where it get's a little moe challenging. The third key is to endure the pain, and then the fourth and final key is to cherish the matchless treasure.
3. God's grace is more powerful than my pain.
Pain offers us perspective into the power
of God and His providence in our lives.
I have never been very fond of pain. I think I do have a pretty high threshold for pain. However
I do not enjoy or relish painful experiences. Fact is, I dont know anyone who does. T
here are those masochists and I suppose some others who do. Yet, in my opinion, n
o mentally and emotionally balanced person enjoys pain. Now I know a few bodybuilders and football players who seem to welcome pain because of the end-game of having endured it. But, even with them, it is generally not the pain they enjoy, but rather the muscles that develop and the trophies that are won after having endured pain. The fact still stands, painful experiences are not desirable or fun. But I have learned that pain does offer great perspective. That if we are attentive in painful experiences, God's voice illuminates the points of power and providence that are vivid and radiant.
provides for us a very familiar case study toward this truth. Paul is recounting an experience where God allowed him to suffer under a painful physical ailment. We don't have space here to explore this fully. But I want to highlight a portion of God's response. Paul said he prayed for relief from the pain multiple times, but in verse 9, God simply responds,
"My grace is enough for you. When you are weak, my power is made perfect in you"
). Notice how God says, my power is made perfect in you. In other words:
Grace = DIVINE POWER + human weakness
God's grace is made manifest through His divine power shining through us when we need it most. I was speaking to a good friend just this morning about an issue he's been dealing with for a couple months now. He was working on a big contract and the other party practically cheated im out of over $10,000.00. This whole thing stinks because he was counting on that contract to carry him through the season. However, in the midst of trying to recalibrate during this financial dry season, he calls his car loan company and finds out that because they've been paying extra on their car bill their ahead two whole payments and don't need to pay right now. That's grace. God always gives strength when an where we need it most.
4. God is the most precious possession.
The more we circle through these types of cycles, the more we find that one thing is constant. I'm not always strong, but God always is. I don' always have the answers, but God always does. I don't always have the resources, but God always does. So what I need more than anything is God. God is truly the pearl of great price (see
). He is the matchless treasure. He is my most precious possession. It reminds me of that gospel song Vickie Winans sang, "As long I got King Jesus I don't need nobody else."
I don't necessarily ascribe to all the ideas in the song, however, the general premise is true. God is the most precious possession and faithful friend one can have. No one likes pain. And no one likes to lose (that is people or possessions). But the reality is, nothing in this life lasts forever. If you live, you will love, and when you love, you will lose. But the eternal God will never leave us nor forsake us (see
). The grass whithers and the flower fades, but the word of the Lord stands forever (see
). As long as you've got God, you're on the winning team. The score board might not reflect it right now, but trust me, we're gonna win.