Here is a guest blog post by an amazing guy and writer, who also happens to be an interesting friend of mine. Readers, a round of applause for Josiah!
The following piece resonated with me on a deep and personal level. I asked him if I could share it with you all here, and he gave me the go-ahead.
We don’t want it; we don’t ask for it. But it happens to us every day.
Embrace the pain.
There’s a part of me that thirsts for glorious battles, heroic deeds, impossible quests. Images flash through my mind: a small band of soldiers against a vast array of dark armored villains—a young boy staring at a shining, sharpened sword—looking out on an endless horizon.
Why? Am I an ambitious, grasping person, wishing for glory that can’t be mine?
I want to experience the agony, the piercing of the soul. I want to feel despair, I want to see no end to the fight, I want to weep over a comrade’s body.
Are these good scenes? Never. But this is what I understand.
Without true suffering, you cannot feel peace. Without desperation, you cannot feel triumph. Without agonizing sadness, you can’t feel the flights of true joy. You can’t scale the peaks of heaven without first traveling through the Valley of the Shadow of Death.
Pain shapes us throughout their lives. Without feeling the rejection of love, how can you truly know what it feels like to love and be loved? Without pain, life is shallow. The tears shed from the heart clear the path for the laughter that bubbles from the soul.
Every single great person who has ever walked this Earth has felt pain. The most heroic people have suffered.
You’ve maybe heard that “every soldier is a hero”. Why is that? They have all been broken in spirit, mind, and body. They know what it is to be down and out. And that is why they can learn how to be more whole, more triumphant, more joyful than ever before.
Jesus knew pain. He wasn’t a superhuman; he wasn’t able to skirt the suffering in this life. His whole career began in pain—or what else would you call forty days of fasting and temptation in the wilderness? Millions of people are saved because he suffered. He willingly gave himself, but if sin hadn’t been agonizing, if it hadn’t torn us apart, how would we know how good it is to be free?
Pain helps us grow in maturity.
Jesus said, “In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart! For I have overcome the world.”—John 16:33.
Pain is inevitable. Instead of trying to avoid it, first see how it may help you. Who knows what feelings you may never feel if you try to keep pain from your heart? Pain is conviction.
But it doesn’t end there. Pain leads toward greater things than we ever imagined.
Maybe that’s why my most common thought is that of a small group of people or a person staring out at a barren land. They’re feeling despair, but there’s a small seed of burning hope that will set fire to the land.
After the fire comes regrowth.
After pain comes redemption.
Bear the flame.
(Josiah A. 2020.)