I associate pain as a negative thing. I also think that every time I’m told no, it’s because I did something wrong or there is something wrong with me. I think that if God closes a door on something in my life – a relationships, a leadership opportunity or a job—it’s because I’m not good enough or I did something wrong. False. Lie. God does everything for our good. He closes doors to open other ones, and often it’s not because we did something wrong, it’s because He has something better for us. I was reading through my journal from first semester and I came across something that struck me as odd. I said to God, “You’re saying no so You can say an even better yes in the future.” I almost always want a yes in the present; I lack the patience and the trust to wait for the better yes. The immediate satisfaction of eating a candy bar in my head is better than losing weight or better health in the future. I am so impatient that I often don’t want the growth. I want the immediate results.

Thankfully, God doesn’t think like me. God knows what’s best for us – even if it’s painful. Our society has decided that pain is a bad thing. And don’t get me wrong, it’s not comfortable, however, a lot of us will go out of our way to avoid pain, even if that means avoiding God. I am in no way saying that loving God equal pain, it is joyful and satisfying, however, there will be times when God needs to get you to the next level of maturity and that can be painful. I know in my life, I avoid the pain, I avoid the growth and in turn, I avoid God because I don’t view Him as good when I’m hurting. In my human brain, pain is a bad thing and therefore nothing good can come from it and it should be avoided at all costs. Jesus Himself suffered and endured pain. He knew coming to earth and dying on the cross wasn’t going to be a vacation, but He saw the reward as outweighing the pain. Perhaps I can start to see my growth the same way. The pain I experience as part of the maturing process is nothing compared to the eternal glory I will receive and the privilege it is to be made more and more into the image of Christ. In growing, I am being stripped of myself and Christ is greater reflected in my life.

As I start to process through my sophomore year of college, there’s been pain and struggle, but most of all there has been growth. God closed some doors in my life and said some no’s, but it is because of it that I’m the woman I am today. I’m stronger now that I was in September. I’m stronger now that I was in January. Hebrews 11:1 says, “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” I don’t always see the ways that God is working, but I can know that He is indeed working. In saying no, God has asked me to have faith that I will see the yes’s He has in store for me. I have some growing to do before I’m ready, and that’s okay; I’m a work in progress. So thank You God for loving me enough to let me experience pain; for caring so much about my growth You allow me to struggle. Give me the faith to know that You are good, even when I can’t seem to see it.

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