As a guy who loves to eat hates to exercise this saying makes absolutely no sense to me! In my honest opinion, whoever said this originally needs a serious mental evaluation! I mean who wants to be put into pain? Anyone? So, I started to investigate where this little tidbit of crazy talk came from. A simple google search shows Jane Fonda made it popular in one of her workout videos in 1982. If one were to dig deeper, you may find out that Benjamin Franklin coined that phrase almost 300 years ago! I have heard it applied in business as well. Ever hear the phrase “it takes money to make money?” How about “feel the burn” that was later changed for a political slogan? Again, I think these are all crazy talk, don’t you?
Or are they?
I have recently decided to get this physical body into better shape. Does this look like the face of someone enjoying the physical state of pain? I think back to how I arrived in my current physical state and cannot remember any pain in the process of gaining weight. As a matter of fact, there were many smiles as a lifestyle of over-indulgence took over. If we look at the business and fitness worlds, we find there is some truth in those silly words. Pain is an indication of conditioning. In both worlds, the physical pain indicates use and tone of muscle groups and in the business world, the pain of expense, if done right, leads to further returns. If we consider agreeing with this concept of pain to receive gain, why do we not think of this in the spiritual world? Why do we run from pain in the form of shallow attendance or throwing a $20 bill in the plate when it comes by? Why do we cry out in anger against God for the pain of what is generally our own decisions? It is the same pain (of which I feel right now as I write this after a grueling walk in 100% humidity and absolutely no breeze!) that causes conditioning that also spurs on growth. I can assume muscle mass is growing as it strains to carry the weight of this shell over 3 miles. Just as those muscles develop, so does our spirit when we endure trials and tribulations.
We are told to be the light of the world (Matt 5:14). A spotlight gives off the same amount of energy whether it is in the middle of the day or the dark of night. The effectiveness of that light is magnified in the dark or stormy parts of the world. See the correlation? It
takes the dark times for God to be seen clearly. Don’t get me wrong, He is always present. He is the same yesterday today and tomorrow. He will never leave me or forsake me. But He is easily seen in the comfort of the listening ear during a time of loss. He is seen when all things say a church should close its doors and yet it is still open. He is seen when we have no answers and too many questions and yet our needs are provided. He is seen when we humble ourselves to His desire and direction when it goes against what we have learned by society. He is seen when we obey against everything society says we should follow.
He never promised to make things easy. He never promises that we can do it on our own. In fact, there will be times that we depend on Him to carry us through. He blesses those who are persecuted for His namesake (Matt 5:11). He asks us to take up our cross and follow Him (Mark 8:34). That is a visual that indicates pain. The pain it took my Savior to carry His cross. It took His pain for our gain. What do we gain? A prize we will never earn. One we will never deserve. One that will last forever. It is free to us but caused so much pain in the process. All it requires is a willingness to accept. A willingness to take up our personal crosses and follow Him. If you have not accepted this free gift of His grace, contact me in the link to the left. Reach out and do not delay. If you have that free gift, do not be discouraged in the face of pain. Relinquish control and submit to His will. He will carry us if we only ask. He desires our dependence. I desire His grace.
Smile in the face of pain because there follows a season of growth. A season of reaping and rewards. My rewards are not of this earth.
“Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”