It seems to be human nature to recoil from pain and suffering in whatever form it may present itself; physical, emotional or spiritual. When our bodies fail us, we long for health. When those we love hurt us, we pull away, perhaps retreating into silence. When we wrongly believe God has abandoned us, we turn a cold shoulder. We long to find and travel the road of least resistance. In the Garden of Gethsemane, even Jesus asked the Father to take this cup from him. The reality is that the road of least resistance or the longed for external place of serenity and comfort does not exist – at least not in this life. Ultimately, we have two choices. We can either continue to chafe and resist our circumstance, longing for that which is a mirage. Or, like Jesus, we can come to terms with our circumstances, trusting and believing that our Heavenly Father has charted a unique course for us that will result in our greater good. 1 Peter 1:3-7 reminds us, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade – kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith – of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire – may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.” The season of Lent is now before us. During this time, we turn our attention to the Passion of our Lord. Let us remember that he, too, suffered tremendous pain and loss – only to an infinitely greater degree than anything we will experience. Though he petitioned the Father for relief in the Garden, ultimately he did not flinch. He finished the course that Father had marked out for him. We all know the end result. My encouragement to you during your season of difficulty is to always remember that strength, joy, blessing and maturity are always forged out of and through pain and loss.
Keep the faith,
Originally from Huntington Beach, CA, Tony received his Bachelor's degree in religion from USC and his Master of Divinity and Doctor of Ministry from Talbot School of Theology. Tony loves spending time with his wife, Sheri, and their two sons and daughter (Bryce, Braden, and Brooke); cheering for the USC Trojan football team; and playing tennis.