If life is a proving ground, pain is the drill instructor. On the road to happiness pain is riding shotgun. No matter how in-love you are with yourself, no matter how in-love you are with your partner, your kids, your career, no matter how many religious services you attend, no matter how many self-help books you read, no matter how enlightened you may think you are or actually are, no matter how nice of a person you are, pain is a part of life’s onboarding process. In fact, you might as well right this down in bold print: “I WILL EXPERIENCE PAIN.” Why? I don’t know. To me, it’s as if it’s life’s way of tempering us, so that we can last, so that we can endure to the end of our respective journeys. Because having all of the positive thoughts in the world is sometimes not enough to be able to negotiate the variety of obstacle courses we will face in life. However, if we are aware that pain is part and parcel of life, we won’t forfeit the marathon at the early onset of what some of us deem to be adversity or the “enemy” attempting to attack us when, really, it’s just normal cramping and joint pain.

I am convinced that our faulty expectations and our extreme of sense of entitlement to only goodness is what oftentimes derails us more than anything else, leaving us reeling for something, anything that will anchor us regardless of whether or not it’s beneficial or detrimental to us. We say things like “That could never happen to me” or sanctimonious statements like “Won’t He do it?”, but the reality is that things are not always going to play out according to how we want them to and God is not a genie in a bottle.

We are better served to shift our perspective on the unfolding of events that play out in our life. I am reminded of the story of Job in the Bible in which Job faced unconscionable pain, the kind that many of us today would likely choose to forfeit our lives over, but Job remained loyal to God.

Job 2:9-10 – “Then his (Job) wife said to him, ‘Do you still hold fast to your integrity? Curse God and die!’ But he said to her, ‘You speak as one of the foolish women would speak. Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?’ In all of this Job did not sin with his lips.”

Job 42:2, 5-6 – “I know that You can do all things, and that no purpose of Yours can be thwarted. I had heard of You by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees You, therefore I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes.”

Choose to go through the pain. On the other side of it is, is what I like to believe what scripture characterizes as “the peace that passes all understanding.”