Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.  And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

 Romans 5:3-5  (NIV)

We all suffer pain…both physical and emotional. Are we able to live our life with pain without bemoaning our circumstances to others? Can we truly glory in our sufferings?  As the opening scripture says, suffering produces perseverance.

Perseverance  means to persist or endure when things get tough. That builds character. Character can’t be built if all we do is complain about our issue. We have to earnestly look for ways to make our hardship a learning experience for ourselves…maybe for others.

I like to think that how I manage the physical deficits of my traumatic brain injury (TBI) inspires others to persevere and make the most of hard situations in their life. Let me give a perfect example of when I did NOT inspire others!

The body imbalance caused by my TBI has never ever caused me any physical pain  (unless I fell the wrong way)! Last week though I experienced true physical pain. I had been dealing with soreness in my arm for weeks, but kept on teaching my exercise classes. It really didn’t hurt unless I was lifting a weight from low to high across my midline. Then one morning I woke up and couldn’t move my left arm without pain.

I took an Ibuprofen, canceled my morning class and went to Kroger. Every time I turned my basket to the left, I winced with pain. It’s hard to smile and wince at the same time, so I couldn’t keep a happy face. I wanted to cry out for someone to stop my pain.

I didn’t say a word but kept thinking, “Don’t look at me! Don’t look at me!” Others always look at me when I walk because I’m so imbalanced. I knew I couldn’t handle that with a smile on my face that day. The pain caught me by surprise, so I hadn’t prepared for how to handle it graciously.

To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example that you should follow in his steps.

1 Peter 2:21 (NIV)

I thought of Jesus carrying the cross after being beaten and scourged. He didn’t say a word either. He was surely in pain, but I bet He wasn’t thinking, ‘Stop staring at me!

Jesus endured the pain of the cross out of His love for us. He wasn’t even angry with those who persecuted Him. Could we be that forgiving of our enemies? That’s what He asks of us.

Suffering happens just like Life Happens. It’s part of being human. Can we try to handle it the way that Jesus handled His…not making excuses  or blaming someone else?

When tough times come, we need to seek God. We need to aggressively look for Him. “What would You have me do?” I did NOT turn to Him in my pain. I did later when I was alone with my thoughts. Me…of all people… should have instinctively turned to Him. I seek God when I want energy to teach a class, transportation to Kroger, stability in all things. This pain tripped me up though.

Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always.

1 Chronicles 11:11  (NIV)

If we can endure our pain, it will develop our character. Character will bring us to that wonderful longing for a better tomorrow that we call HOPE. Hope can put a smile on our face…even when the pain is unbearable!


Dear Lord,

Help us remember to seek you especially when the pain is bad. You are the God of good times AND bad times…the God of the ordinary AND the unordinary.

We believe in Your love for us as Your children. Let us remember that love when pain or hardship comes into our life, trusting that You are working everything out for our good.


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