I recently hit a goal that was very gratifying. After almost a year I reached the 50 pound mark of a diet that I have been on. It hasn’t been an easy journey. There have been many days when a trip to the gym was inconvenient and my body was to sore to lift one more weight or ride one more mile, but to quit was no longer an option.
A year ago my doctor had given me the news that my physical condition was not the best. He mentioned that I was a 42-year-old man whose body was much older than those 42 years. Even though I had heard this conversation before, and those who love me had asked me to change, I want to tell you the reason that finally gave me the courage and strength to stand up and fight. It was quite simply this…I was tired of the pain.
The pain in my body was increasing daily. My knees hurt, my feet hurt, my back hurt, and most of all my self-esteem hurt. It was the pain that caused me to take a good hard look at myself and chose a new path for my life.
It’s interesting how we react to pain. Pain has a way of transforming our lives. We mark our lives by before the pain and the time after the pain. For some pain signifies a time of evaluation and change, for others it becomes the all-consuming place that drags their life to a standstill.
I am reminded by Paul’s words that “His grace is sufficient.” These words were spoken after Paul had prayed that God would remove the cross that he was carrying. Most theologians believe this to be a physical problem that caused Paul to suffer. He prayed three times with no answer before he wrote those words. The bottom line for Paul was that God would get him through his pain or remove it … but he wasn’t going to stop his life.
Paul teaches us an important life lesson in his answer. We will deal with suffering in this life. It is going to happen. Whether it be physical or emotional, pain happens. The big decision is what will you do with it. Does it become your identity or is it a part of your life that you deal with and grow from? When we chose to deal with it instead of it dealing with us, the door for God’s involvement is opened.
God’s way may not be ours. We usually want a quick fix and off we go. God’s way may be for you to travel with the suffering for awhile. Pain can indicate a deeper problem that needs to be dealt with. If we live life on fixing the symptoms, the root of our troubles can be missed.
There are times that the pain we live with can be changed. For me it was a lifestyle decision that has been a blessing personally and for my family. That choice cannot be made by anyone else but you. God will help but the decision starts with you. So I ask you today, what choice will you make? Will you choose life or continue to embrace your pain? The ball is in your court.