That is a Mountain of Misery

That is a Mountain of Misery

Then the LORD said to Abram, “Know for certain that your offspring will be sojourners in a land that is not theirs and will be servants there, and they will be afflicted for four hundred years. But I will bring judgment on the nation that they serve, and afterward they shall come out with great possessions.” Genesis 15:13-14

When in high school, I thought about medical school, but that just seemed like so much work. Eight more years was simply too long to remain in the classroom. During college though, I realized that I was going to have to do something when I left academia. Graduation didn’t mean permanent vacation. I also realized that school wasn’t that bad. Honestly, I’m enjoying my education. I understood that even though it was going to be a lot of work to stay in school, the alternative wasn’t a perpetual summer break. So, I went to medical school. It was a lot of hard work, but I came out the other side as a physician, which was obviously worth it.

As wise as it was to do the hard thing about medical school, I’ve not always displayed such wisdom. In my addiction, I wanted recovery, but I knew how much work it was going to be to get there. Frankly, it was going to be a mountain of misery – confession, consequences, treatment, meetings, and life transformation. That was all just too much. What was my alternative though? My only other option was to remain stuck in my addiction, which was horrible. Then, when life came crashing down, I had to go through all that stuff I’d been trying to avoid anyway. I eventually came out the other side though. In finally abandoning my way, following God, and doing what it took to find recovery, I found life, joy, and peace.

Growth through pain. That’s the lesson from today’s passage. In it, God promised Abram that his descendants would go through some very dark times. God also promised however, that Abram’s offspring would come out the other side, inheriting the promised land. Tough times were guaranteed, but through the tough times would come something far better.

We will all go through trials. We can, however, grow and find transformation, coming out the other side better than before. This isn’t automatic though. Trials can simply make us bitter and resentful. This is tragic – to go through the hard times, losing ourselves, never finding the other side. God will lead us, but he doesn’t force us. If, in our misery, we want something better, then we must seek God and his will, growing through the pain. Our only option is to follow our way, refusing to grow, which will only means that we’ll remain stuck in our misery.

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