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TRUST: When the Path of Obedience Leads to Pain

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Trial. Hardship. Discomfort.

Pain.

We’ve all been there at some point in our lives, and we’ll likely all be there again. It’s to be expected, right? Jesus even said, “In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33b)

Sometimes these seasons result from our own choices, and sometimes they simply come as part of life. Sometimes painful seasons are thrust upon us through tragedy, sickness, or trauma.

But there’s something I’ve discovered in this season of my life that I’ve never heard talked about before…

Sometimes trial, hardship, discomfort, and even pain are the direct result of our obedience and exist smack dab in the center of God’s will.

Three years ago God began to slowly shift the hearts of my family toward transition. Day by day, month by month, He led us into what that transition was going to consist of. He shifted my heart out of the ministry I was leading in the fight against human trafficking. He shifted our goals onto searching for land and building a cattle business. Through time, He even shifted my heart from being adverse to moving away from the town in which we had lived for 14 years, to actually desiring to do so. (side note: When we are abiding in Christ, He shifts our desires to accomplish His purposes! (Philippians 2:13, Psalm 37:4) He’s such a good, kind, loving God.)

We felt the Lord lead us to put our house on the market before we knew where He was taking us. We heard Him tell us to stop trying to figure out the details because we’d never be able to figure them out anyway. We experienced Him lead us to the land He had for us, and we followed obediently, believing He would use this move and this place as a catalyst to build His Kingdom - even though we had no idea how.

The months during that process were full of His voice, His promises, and His confirmations. They were full of expectancy, joy, and anticipation.

And then we got here.

Someday I will try to articulate what this season has involved, but it has been beyond our wildest expectations in every way imaginable. It has surpassed our expectations of peace, beauty, purpose, and miracles; and it has surpassed our expectations of sacrifice, stretching, difficulty, and hardship. This is the season in which I have learned a very simple, yet profound truth:

Peace and pain can coexist.

Paul describes this little truth in 2 Corinthians 6:10. After listing some of the hardships he had endured for the cause of Christ (including beatings, imprisonments, sleepless nights, and hunger), Paul says he is:

“...sorrowful, yet always rejoicing…”

Not only can peace and pain coexist, joy and pain can coexist. Paul is rejoicing because he is “poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything” (2 Corinthians 6:10b).