In the 90”s, one of the t-shirts that was popular said, “No Pain No Gain”. They were referring to working out, but I believe that’s true in a lot of areas in life. People like complacency and they don’t like pain. Because of that, we often find ourselves in ruts doing the same thing day in and day out. The problem is that the processes in our lives can only produce so much, and many of us have been in a rut so long that we have reached a plateau and we’re coasting. The greatest motivator for change is pain. It’s not until we’re faced with pain of some sort that we change. When you change how you do things, you change the results you’re getting in life. Sometimes we get the choice to make the change, and other times God forces the change in our lives.
Joseph, in the Old Testament, is one of the most intriguing people in the Bible to me. When he was 17 years old, his brothers beat him up and threw him in a pit with the intention of killing him. Instead, they sold him as a slave where he was taken to a foreign land. There he made the most of his situation and became the highest producer in the household. The owner’s wife took a liking to him, but he held to his integrity even though life had dumped on him. He was thrown in jail where he was forgotten, but he continued to persevere in the pain. 17 years after his brother’s sold him, he became a free man, and then became second in command of the nation. He was a man who went through much pain, suffering and affliction, but you never read where he questioned God or doubted Him.
After he was married, he had two sons. Genesis 41:52 says, “He named the second [son] Ephraim (fruitfulness), for ‘God has caused me to be fruitful and very successful in the land of my suffering’” (AMP). God has a plan for our lives that contains suffering, but with that suffering comes the potential of fruitfulness and success. How do you respond to times of pain and suffering? I believe our response is what determines the extent of that fruitfulness. God will do whatever He needs to in our lives to get us to a place where we can be fruitful for Him and His purposes, but along with that comes the potential for greater things. Some of the most successful people you know have endured some of the hardest times. If you’re going through a season of pain and suffering like Joseph, take courage. God is working in your life to produce some amazing fruit. Ask Him for the strength to endure and the wisdom in how to make the most of it.