Temporary Pain for Eternal Gain

The other day I took my not-so-little baby girl for her 12 month immunizations. As we waited in the waiting room, she had no idea what was on the horizon. She sat on a chair eating her cracker, waved at strangers, and smiled without a care in the world.  

I wasn’t looking especially forward to what I knew what was coming. I knew she wouldn’t be open to the multiple injections especially once she received the first one and knew what to expect.

As the nurse stuck her with one needle after the other, the crocodile tears started falling. She screamed and cried, trying to resist and I will never forget the face she gave me when she looked up at me.

It was as if she was saying,“Why aren't you doing something about this?! Don’t you realize this is hurting me?!”

As she struggled, I just held her close and promised her it would be okay. I knew the pain was temporary and it would be over soon. I wasn't going to leave her alone. Like my wise mother always says, “This too shall pass.”

She cried and cried but sure enough, within a matter of minutes, she’d made a full recovery, and after a 3 hour afternoon nap she was a happy camper once again. Later that night her dad said, you wouldn't even know she was stuck with so many needles today!”

She’s too young to understand, but I know as her mom, that the short term discomfort is going to benefit her in the long run. It will make her immune system stronger and protect her from some otherwise avoidable and painful illnesses. I could’ve told the nurse to stop after one, but then I would be leaving her exposed to other things that would cause an even greater amount of pain. That minute of pain and discomfort, while at the time, probably seemed like the end of the world to her, was for her own good.

It seems like this year so far has been characterized by painful situations for many people close to my heart. Innocent babies with serious health conditions, marital struggles, parenting struggles, other health risks, death of loved ones, complications with pregnancy and labor… I could go on.

This morning I was reminded by Peter in his first letter that,

“for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith- of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire- may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.”

Often, when faced with trying circumstances, we are tempted to turn to God in the midst of our pain and say,“Why aren’t you doing something about this? Don’t you realize this is hurting me?!”

In my own experience, God hasn’t answered that first question. The second one though, I feel like He has said something to this effect: “Yes, I do know how much pain you’re in. I’m right here with you, holding you close. Take comfort in my arms. Trust me. This is just for a little while. I’m preparing you, strengthening, equipping you and testing you. There’s something so much better on the other side of this.”

I pray that no matter how painful a trial you may be going through today, that you rest in His arms. Trust Him in the trial. Look for what He is saying, doing, teaching and testing. Know that the temporary pain will have some eternal gain.

May our lives become testimonies of His presence to those around us, so when they look they say, hypothetically, "You'd never know you've been stuck with so many needles!" 

I think Laura Story said it best in her song, "Blessings":“Pain reminds us that this is not our home.” 

Look forward to heaven. Look forward to an intimate walk with Him. Look forward to a deeper level of faith and trust.