“We can rejoice too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance.” – Romans 5:3
When I was a kid, I didn’t get grounded when I was in trouble. I got whipped! I hated it when I got spanked. I hated the whole process. And it was a process by the way. When I got in trouble, I’d get sent into my bedroom. Then I’d have to wait for my dad to get in there (so it was always better to get in trouble later in the day, closer to when he got home from work).
I remember those days well. Sitting in my room, waiting for my dad, knowing that the spanking was coming. My least favorite part of the process was when my dad would come in. He’d sit down beside me…he’d look me in the eyes, and he’d say something like, “This is going to hurt me as much as it is going to hurt you.”
Every time he’d say that I was thinking, “Well, if that is true, then why don’t we just switch spots?”
When you are talking about discipline, it sounds strange that something painful produces something good. My dad would say, “I’m spanking you because I love you, and these spankings are going to make you better.” That doesn’t make sense when you are a child being disciplined. But now, as an adult, it is easy to see how discipline is constructive and how it makes us better.
That is what Paul was saying in 2 Corinthians 12. He was saying you can boast about your afflictions, and you can be encouraged when you recognize a thorn in the flesh. Why? Because affliction produces endurance. He was saying these seemingly bad things make us better. Good things come from painful things.
It might hurt in the moment, but God is using these things to make us better. We talked several days ago about how pain has a purpose. Well, one of its greatest purposes is self-growth. God is developing you individually, giving you endurance as you push through the pain. Allow that endurance to develop and let God’s purpose be realized!