Tough love

I believe in the biblical definition of love. A love that is patient, kind, selfless and rejoices in truth. 1st Corinthians 13 is the anchor scripture that teaches God’s definition of love, but nowhere in that passage does it say love is easy, or pain free. I think we come to that (wrong) conclusion all by ourselves.

God allows pain 

One of the hardest parts of my Christian journey so far is realising that God’s love isn’t void of pain. Whilst the Bible tells us that God himself never causes evil, we know God can allow it to happen, for our good. 

So recently life has been throwing bombs at me. A lot has been going on with family, relatives, as well as personal challenges and circumstances. It’s just been long. Over the couple of months, I’ve felt scared, confused and vulnerable. 

I’ve also felt close to God. 

I understand that God hasn’t caused any of my pain and that as long as I remain in Him, he can and will use any situation for his glory. The thing with pain and suffering is it has a way of making us less reliant on ourselves and bringing us closer to God…if we allow it to. 

Gods love, Christ’s death

Lets use Jesus’ life as an example. Leading up to his crucifixion, Jesus was scared. He prayed asking if God would spare him the pain that was coming. He also prayed for God’s will to be done. 

As painful as it was, God allowed Jesus to go through the pain of the cross, even death, even though he loved Him. This is because God knew that in the end, Jesus would be glorified and those who accepted his sacrifice would be saved for eternity. The end justified the means. 

We see similar stories in the lives of Job and Lazarus. Both were described as men that God loved, yet in both of their stories, he allowed them to experience suffering and Lazarus experienced death. 

The belief that love should always look and feel good is a lie.

My parents disciplined me out of love. If I misbehaved, they’d be consequences. Luckily for me, my parents were more the “you’re grounded” type than getting a whip out, but still. Discipline never felt good. They didn’t enjoy seeing me sulk and cry but every punishment was either to protect, teach or help me in some way. Even if it didn’t feel like it. That’s how God is. His word says those who He loves, he rebukes and disciplines (Rev 3:19). It’s a tough love, a parental type of love. 

Rejoice always 

Christian or not,  life is tough. The older you get, the tougher it gets. Sometimes our own actions can cause our pain and sorrow, other times illnesses, disasters, freak accidents and other unfortunate circumstances can be the reason. All of these reasons have something alike in that the enemy wants to use them to destroy our faith, but God aims to strengthen it.

As Christians, God didn’t promise us an easy life. But he did promise that he would make all things work together for our good (Romans 8:28). His love permits us to experience pain sometimes but his word promises us that it’s always worthwhile. We have to believe anything that brings us closer to Him and glorify His name is good (even if it doesn’t feel like it). 

You’re reading this and I’m not sure what you’re going through but what I am sure about is that if you’re called by God’s name, and stay close to him during this season, He will bring you out stronger than before. He makes all things beautiful in His time. 

Life happens. Trials and tribulations come, but God’s word reminds us to rejoice always and take heart as he has overcome the world. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

So let’s look away from our circumstances, look to Christ, look to the promises, and hold fast to them. It’s all we’ve got. 

Author: Amanda Chenai .