All of us struggle through trials, sufferings, and periods of change. God uses every struggle to stretch our faith. Today, Kim M. Clark shares from her latest devotional how growth stems from our pain. There is no progress without pain.
On a recent episode of Your Hope Filled Perspective Podcast, I chatted with Kim Clark about finding hope during difficult times. If you missed that episode, you can listen here (Finding Hope During Difficult Times – Episode 121.)
Be sure to read to the end for a book giveaway!
No Progress Without Pain
by Kim M. Clark
What an interesting year, huh?
Some of us are coming out of our chrysalis, having now been vaccinated and are venturing back into society. Others never left civilization—our professions or convictions have called us to trust God, don a mask, and carry on. A few people have appreciated this time of rest, while many have lost loved ones and haven’t been able to begin the grieving process or start to heal, and everyone seems to be tired of it all.
Change is something we all love, right? Nope. Not me. I don’t like it one bit.
I struggle with every ounce of my being as God is stretching my faith, bringing me through the fires as the dross in my heart is being burned off. Even though I know he is upholding me with his tender loving care and fashioning me into a more accurate reflection of his son—I go through those flames kicking and screaming like a toddler who just lost their binky. Sigh.
You’d think by now I’d get the hang of this sanctification process. Yet, I’m still a flailing, white-hot mess, covered by the blood of Jesus. Maybe you are more holy than I am and can peacefully float through your deep waters of trials and suffering, filled to overflowing with the love and peace from our precious Holy Spirit. I’m the one splashing and trying to keep afloat next to you, fighting the currents of change, and praying fervently for God to take this fruit-bearing trial from me. Again, sigh.
If God’s placed you in a different boat this season and you’re confused on whether or not to use the oars, sails, or motor—I get you. As a previous (or rather recovering) college marketing instructor, I found that I’m not the only one—all of us struggle through trials, sufferings, and periods of change. And while knowing I’m not alone provides some source of comfort, it’s through our Savior that we can guzzle from the one and only true fount of peace and hope.
Below is an excerpt from Day 11 of my most recent devotional that I pray will bless you as it did me. I hope it will encourage you to lift your gaze to the Author and Perfecter of faith, our Lord Jesus, who never leaves us or forsakes us—even through our deepest waters.
“There Is No Progress Without Pain”
“Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” (Romans 5:3–5 ESV)
“Really? This is too hard!” my college students whined after I reviewed their final group project requirements. They informed me that they were used to having things easy and I made this senior-level marketing class too hard for them.
Smirking, I allowed them to lament. Then, gently yet firmly, I explained that was my job. I told them as an aspiring marathoner, I understood their plight. After finishing a twenty-mile run, my coach, also my husband, who had run seven marathons, told me it was time to start hill training to increase my speed.
I informed him that my pace was just fine—I was content in my rut. After further consideration, I decided to listen to someone who had done what I desired to do. Therefore, I completed ten miles of painful hill training. It was during that run that the Lord spoke to my heart, “There is no progress without pain.”
I described to them that even though I knew the burning in my legs was from my muscles breaking down, healing, and becoming stronger and faster, it still didn’t make the process any easier. We need to press through our pain for growth. Unfortunately, the very agony we despise produces the greatest harvest of fruit in our lives.
Some of my students nodded and others rolled their eyes. I smiled. And aren’t we the same? Don’t we all hate the process but revel in the results?
Either way, allow me to leave you with my prayer for you…
Prayer when God is stretching our faith
Dear Lord, forgive us when we complain while being stretched as you are developing endurance, character, and eventually hope in you. During our faith-testing times, pour out your Holy Spirit into our hearts and remind us of the bountiful harvest of sweet fruit that comes only through suffering. Bless us with complete trust in and obedience to you, despite our anguish. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
About Kim M. Clark
Kim enjoys witnessing the miraculous heart-healing done only by our Savior, Lord Jesus Christ, and rejoices as she inspires others to become better versions of themselves. She is a public speaker, bible lecturer, and recovering college marketing instructor. God has used Kim to administrate a child sponsorship organization, where she coordinated the care of close to 1,000 AIDS orphans in Africa. She is an avid runner and has completed two marathons—despite the angry protests from her knees. She and her family enjoy living in sunny Florida, serving in the local church, and playing pool frisbee with their overly active yellow lab, Mango.
Leave a comment below sharing with us one thing you’ve learned about lifting your gaze to the Lord during trials and you will be entered into the contest for your chance to win a copy of her book.
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The winner will be selected at random and announced next Monday, August 16, 2021. Continental United States only.