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“Physical punishment cleanses away evil; such discipline purifies the heart.” Proverbs 20:30 NLT
Positivity and pain. Cousins that help us to become who God intended for us to be.
There is no doubt that positivity helps us develop and achieve. Positive thinking, encouraging words, rewards for achievements, all have their place in helping us develop and are likely practiced less than they should be.
But there are also benefits and purpose to pain. Pain helps us to grow and change. I often say that I would desire that we grew through prosperity and mountaintop experiences. But the truth is that things don’t grow on the mountain top, they grow in the valley. And in our lives too, growth often occurs in the valley of difficulty.
In a sense a summary to this week’s verse can be heard in gyms across the land “no pain, no gain”. A biblical truth with a practical application.
Perhaps there is no better illustration in nature of this truth than the story of the Emperor Moth. For those who may not know it;
“There was once a hunter who came across the cocoon of a great emperor moth in his travels through the forest. Not wanting to miss the inevitable emergence of the moth, he decided to monitor the cocoon daily. Day after day he would go back to check on the cocoon and, after waiting what seemed an eternity, the moth finally began to emerge from a small opening it made in the cocoon.
Progress was slow, as the moth struggled greatly to emerge from the far too small hole. After some time, its legs poked through the outer coverings, but then the moth seemed to give up on its efforts. Hours passed, and the hunter saw no progress. Worried and thinking the moth had given up, the hunter decided to help the moth out in its endeavor. Grabbing his hunting knife, he carefully cut the side of the cocoon, allowing the moth to emerge effortlessly. Yet the moth, rather than beautifully fly out of the cocoon, fell to the ground: its wings not developed and body engorged with fluid. Not being able to fly, the moth wallowed on the ground for a few days before it died.
What the gardener failed to realize is that the struggle that the moth goes through when emerging from its cocoon is vital to the development of the moth. By squeezing through the small opening of the cocoon, the moth forces fluid from its body into its wings, allowing the wings to develop into large, functional adult moth wings. Having been denied the struggle the moth was denied its chance to develop properly: a denial that unfortunately came at the expense of its life.”
Positive enforcement helps us to develop, but pain helps us change.
I would be remiss if I finished my words suggesting that we can always understand the purpose in pain. We cannot this side of heaven. There are many who suffer through pain, and at times it appears to be without benefit. For those facing such times, or knowing someone who is, I would highly recommend Paul David Tripp’s masterful work entitled “Suffering: Gospel Hope when Life Doesn’t Make Sense.”
This week look for opportunity’s to be an encourager, but also to allow pain to do its’ work in you.
In His Hands,