Pain points. It’s very interesting how language evolves. As new experiences occur, language makes room to accommodate new words, adjust for old words with new meanings and eliminate some old words, which die out entirely out of lack of use. Who talks about typewriters today, or cassette tape or rotary phone boxes?
Pain points is a new expression to me. Maybe it has been around for a while, but it’s new to me. It talks of problematic areas or areas where we have problems with every day life, for example, the irritations we feel when things don’t work out the way we expect, or the way we have been promised; the unexpected outcomes of actions taken, the frustrations with the status quo.
How is this relevant to our purpose in God? For many of us, we were sold a different Christianity, what a pastor friend has referred to as a ‘different gospel’. What is that? A gospel that says once you give your life to Christ, all your problems will be solved. It is true that in Jesus, we find solutions to our issues because He has all the solutions. But, what I have discovered in my years of walking with Jesus, is that although He can solve all problems, He seldom does. Why? Because each problem in our lives has a purpose. No problem is without a reason or use, and will not ordinarily end without achieving its purpose in our lives. So, if God has allowed a problem to achieve a purpose, why would He end it just because we ask? Our asking is without knowledge anyway, as we only ask because we need Him to take away the discomfort, not because we are privy to, nor understand what He is working to achieve in us.
When we believe this other gospel, our expectations are skewed towards finding answers to every problem. Like I said, I’m not against getting answers or finding solutions, but let’s look at God’s ways again. Is this what He does? Is this what He has done through the ages? What precedent do we have from the Israelites? If they were meant for our examples, then it means that we are supposed to learn from them.
Look at Abraham. He had been given a sure word of promise from God. But he had to wait for 25 years to get the manifestation. Joseph was sold as a slave as a young man. His breakthrough did not come until years later, after he had been imprisoned and forgotten in prison. Moses spent 40 years in the desert, as a fugitive prince, demoted from the palace of Pharaoh, to be a desert wanderer and shepherd. All these went through the process of God. Why do we think our own story should be different? Someone suggested that it was because they belonged in the Old Testament, under the old covenant.
Jesus is the Son of God who came to earth on a divine errand of salvation, to save man once and for all. The Bible says that He learned obedience by the things He suffered. This is the Son of God! But He went through process too. Born of a woman but without sin, He grew up under Roman rule and oppression. He saw how the people were cheated and suppressed by huge taxes and imposition of rulers. They groaned under the government of Rome. His disciples asked Him, ‘Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?’ Contrary to their expectations, He told them, ‘It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority’. The Bible also says that ‘we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin’.
What did Jesus experience? He bore the shame and punishment for our sins. He traveled the road, with the pain, shame, tears etc. There was no concession. He felt the pain, he endured the cross. He died and felt the separation from the Father. Thereafter, as planned, on the third day, He was raised from the dead. Recall the way He prayed in Gethsemane. He wasn’t looking forward to the process. He knew what would be involved and He knew it would not be palatable. He prayed and prayed, until He sweated blood! This is the Son of God. This is the author of the new covenant.
So, we have these examples. We also have examples of saints who lived before our time. Their stories do not differ. Therefore, we must recognize the ways of God and conform accordingly. He has good thoughts for us and has planned our days from before we were born. He knows what is best for us and He is always working behind the scenes, to accomplish His purpose for our lives.
In the midst of all things, we must beware of the enemy’s antics, always seeking to plant tares in the midst of our wheat. Our lives are not meant to be easy peasy. We have an enemy, who works to pull us down or distract us from the purpose of God for our lives. We have to discern which trouble is from the enemy and which one is allowed by God. Our role is to fight battles as soldiers of Christ; personal battles and corporate battles. Our comfort is that God is always with us, equipping us, fighting for us, rebuking the enemy and working for our good. The Bible says that ‘through God we will do valiantly, for it is He who shall tread down our enemies’ Ps.108:13 NKJV
‘The Lord God is my strength, He will make my feet like deer’s feet, And He will make me walk on my high hills’. Hab. 3:19
‘You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ’. 2Tim.2:3
What am I saying today? In this world, we will have tribulation, but be of good cheer, for our Lord Jesus Christ has overcome the world. In Him, we are overcomers. We are more than conquerors (John 16:33, 1John5:4, Romans 8:37).
Hang in there. Get your expectations right. Fight your battles. Trust in God.