Why do pain and joy seem to coincide?  Initially, it makes me think of Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan.  Around every turn, there are more and more obstacles for Pilgrim to overcome.  Will he ever have a stressless time in his journey?  When does the joy begin?  For many reasons, it appears that Pilgrim cannot encounter joy without enduring pain first.  If something wonderful happens in his life, it often came after wrestling through a perilous time or moment.

To understand Pilgrim’s plight in our modern world, condiser these scenarios:  If you make a good grade on a test–that was only achieved because of rigorous studying and sleepless nights.  If you get hired for a job–that is the result of preparing for the interview–which mostly comes from either researching the company, so that you can be prepared for the interviewer’s questions, or it comes from years of study at a university.

These are normal everyday examples of course.  Many experience joy at a much greater cost.  Receiving life, because of an organ transplant, comes after years of living with and battling a life altering disease.  Also, the life saving organ that is given, only comes because of the love of another individual.  Overcoming cancer is only won after months and months of painful treatments.  You see–you cannot embrace joy without overcoming pain.  The reality is humbling, but it appears to be ever-present in our world.

The greatest example of this statement would be Jesus’ love for us.  His death on the cross and resurrection gives us hope and joy in an ever-changing world.  Yet, Jesus endured pain in order to give us that joy.  He knew He loved you and wanted you to spend eternity with Him–so for that joy to happen–pain was the first step.  This thought alone overwhelms me.  Why does He love me this much?  Yet I am so thankful and grateful for that kind of love.

When I consider all that is going on in the world today–all the pain and hurt–I am reminded that there is joy in the morning–because of Christ (Psalm 30:5)!  Take heart friend, Jesus is here with us.  And if you do not know the Lord, I urge you to welcome Him into your heart today.  It is the best decision I have ever made.

Much love and prayers!