Pain Is Inevitable, but Misery is Optional…

“Pain is inevitable, but misery is optional. We cannot avoid pain, but we can avoid joy.” Tim Hassel

Currently my Energizer Bunny pace has greatly decreased as a result of chronic back pain and an unexpected foot surgery which has me using crutches and an air cast boot for about four weeks.

I am choosing to view this down time as an opportunity to rest, read, and refocus my life direction.  I jokingly have called this season my “half a century tune up,” as I turn fifty in May.  It’s my desire to get my body in better shape so I can be more productive for God’s kingdom work in the years ahead.

James 1:2 Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.

Did you noticed that James used the word “when” and not “if” in regards to trails we will encounter?  Yet so often I am surprised when difficulties come my way.  Honestly my first response to trials is usually not joy but I have learned to look for the joy amidst hard times.

A few things I’m choosing to be joyful for include: God’s word, the availability of my in-laws during this time of need, Cayley’s servants heart, Jon being in town, how quickly I am recovering, the wisdom of my health care providers, health insurance, handicap tags 🙂 , friends, music which eased my pain, etc…

CollageImage foot

Tim Hassel said, “Pain is inevitable, but misery is optional. We cannot avoid pain, but we can avoid joy.” In this life it’s a guarantee we will encounter trials whether relationally, financially, physically, mentally, etc..  but how are we, as believers, to handle these trials?  When we respond with joy verses “poor me,” it will cause an unbelieving world to take notice.

I appreciated the wise words of Andrew Murray, who suffered from a terribly painful back injury. I find comfort from the below story.

One morning while he was eating breakfast in his room, his hostess told him of a woman downstairs who was in great trouble and wanted to know if he had any advice for her. Murray handed her a paper he had been writing on and said, “Just give her this advice I’m writing down for myself. It may be that she’ll find it helpful.”

This is what he had written:

“In time of trouble, say,

‘First, He brought me here. It is by His will I am in this strait place; in that I will rest.’

Next, ‘He will keep me here in His love, and give me grace in this trial to behave as His child.’

Then say, ‘He will make the trial a blessing, teaching me lessons He intends me to learn, and working in me the grace He means to bestow.’

And last, say, ‘In His good time He can bring me out again. How and when, He knows.’

Therefore, say ‘I am here (1) by God’s appointment, (2) in His keeping, (3) under His training, (4) for His time.”

How are you responding to the trials in your life this week? Do you find joy in your current trial or are you resentful and angry?  What lessons are you learning or have you learned?  Praying that you choose to find the joy verses misery. Blessings.