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Growing Pains

Growing Pains

Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered. Hebrews 5:8

Every morning, while praying for those friends and family whom I know to be struggling, I ask God to use that struggle to teach them faith and obedience. I pray that in their obedience, they’d find transformation and freedom from the struggle. I know from experience that it took significant discomfort and misery for me to become willing to follow God’s plan instead of my own. Fifteen years ago, I never would have been willing to do a jail Bible study or work in an addiction treatment facility. I simply wasn’t interested in those things. My time and my career were my own. Through the despair of my addiction however, I became willing to do what I think God wants me to do. I learned obedience through my suffering.

This is the principle revealed in today’s passage. In it, the author of Hebrews spoke of Christ’s qualifications to be intercessor between God and us. Christ suffered and knew of his suffering ahead of time. He didn’t want to go through it (Luke 22:42), but in the end, he surrendered to God’s plan saying, Not my will, but yours be done. Jesus learned obedience through suffering.

I may not like it, but it’s similar for me. I often refuse to change, doing what’s right, until the discomfort of my way becomes too much. If I wouldn’t have lost nearly everything to my addiction, I’d probably still be living in it. The pain of my way had to become so great that I was finally willing to do abandon it for God’s way.

We all find ourselves here at one time or another. Everyone goes through life trials, whether self-inflicted or not. At some point, we’re all going to struggle with addiction, mental illness, finances, loss, sickness, or broken relationships. Through those trials, we suffer. In that suffering, we can and should seek God. Daily, we should use our discomfort to drive us to God, asking, What is it you want me to do? Then, we must obey. Whether we like it or not, that’s usually how growth occurs – through pain. When we’re comfortable, we stay where we are. When we hurt, we move. If we move in the right direction, God can use our misery to transform us into what we’re created to be, experiencing the life for which we were made.

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