I (try to) go to the gym regularly. Typically, it’s a terrible experience, especially when it’s been a while. The interesting thing about going to the gym is that pain…is the goal. If you don’t “feel it” (if it doesn’t hurt a certain way), it’s not working. We have sayings like “no pain, no gain”, & “sweat is weakness leaving the body”, to push us…to keep suffering…to endure. Yet…we fail to see life the same way. We expect it with our bodies, because we walk into a location called a ‘gym’, but what do you when life….is a gym? What do you do when your mind is constantly on a treadmill…on its highest speed…at all times? What do you do when everything feels like…a workout? Well, you do the same thing you do at the gym. For where there is no pain, there’s no true gain.
Philippians 1:6 reminds us that the same God that began a good work in us will complete it until Christ’s return. My…conflict with this verse has consistently lied in 2 words: good work. If I’ve learned nothing else, I’ve learned that ‘good works’ don’t always feel good. I’ve had some ‘good works’ that felt rather terrible in the moment. I’ve had some ‘good works’ that involved me crying myself to sleep. I’ve had some ‘good works’ that required my insecurities and fears to be exposed. I’ve had ‘good works’ that involved me being broke. I’ve had ‘good works’ that required me to be left out & lonely. I’ve had ‘good works’ that required me to walk alone, and ‘good works’ that….broke my heart. Yet, every good work has strengthened me, and pushed me to grow. Because God is….God, He’s always reminded me that this verse doesn’t assure me that ‘good works’ will feel good; it only assures me that the work He’s doing is good. Don’t worry about what it looks like or how it feels; worry about what it is. If He started it, He’s God enough to finish it…and to make sure that even the bad feelings…work for your good.
Romans 8:28 reminds us that all things work for the good of those that love God & are called to His purpose (pssst! That’s you). All things. That encompasses your successes and your screwups. That includes the things that you’d expose to the world, and the stuff that you’d rather take to your grave. Your mountains and your valleys. Your holy moments & the moments that left you feeling like you were left in a hole. Your blessings and your burdens…will help you more than they could ever harm you. Once again, it doesn’t have to feel good to work for your good. Stop basing your perception and your faith on your feelings! The enemy will manipulate you against yourself by working your feelings. So regardless of what you feel, you have to constantly remind yourself that all things….yes, even this thing….will work for your good. Whatever you do, whatever moves around you, whatever happens in your condition - don’t change your confession. Your relief is in your mouth. Actually, your relief is in your mind. You will see what you say (to yourself). So whatever the storm, remind yourself that it’s a good work, and that this too, will work for your good.
Finally, when it’s all said and done, you’ll look back like the psalmist in Psalms 119:71, and say that ‘it was good for me that I was afflicted; that I may learn (His) statutes.” See, going to the gym taught me that I could handle more than I thought I could. I learned that I could run farther than I thought I could. Through time, I could handle heavier weights. I could push farther. I could press more. That’s what the ‘gyms’ in life do: they help you learn more about God & His word. They help you realize that He’s more than you thought He was. They help you realize that in Him, you are more than you thought you were. They don’t come to help you memorize the Bible; they come to help you learn to let His word take root in your mind. Good works may not always feel good, but they have a way of breaking down the barriers of your history, and pushing you towards destiny.
It may not feel like it, and it may not look like it, but this issue…this storm…this chaos…is a good work. Stand still, and see His salvation. Stand still, and keep your confession consistent. It may not feel good, but as long as God is God, it’ll work for your good. This affliction is good for you. This affliction…is destiny…in disguise.
Background Music: For My Good - Dorinda Clark-Cole (because I feel my chu’ch this week lol)