Monday, September 01, 2008

Strange responses to "pain"

High gas prices have created a whole new line of small cars to meet the need for high mpg vehicles. We are amazing creatures. We will spend $15,000.00 for a car to get 50 miles per gallon rather than the 20 miles per gallon we get now. That's a wonderful savings by all appearances, but do these buyers realize that if they are driving 20,000 miles a year it will take them 8 years just to break even? By that time the little car is worn out, and you still haven't realized any real savings.....just a perceived relief for the moment.
I've noticed we do that in nearly every area of our lives. We will do whatever is needed to keep from feeling pain in the moment. It doesn't really matter to us whether the solution has actually changed anything, but in the moment we "feel" better. Our whole culture has done that in our response to God. (You're amazed how I could transition from small cars to theology, aren't you?) But we do....we will do whatever it takes to "be happy" and avoid pain in the moment. We divorce our mates to "be happy." We hurt others so we can "be happy." We make a big change to get a little result in the moment so we feel like we have solved our problem without really changing anything at all. We have yet to resolve the problem, but we feel better.
God's interested in our long term happiness, and much less interested in relieving the "pain" of the moment. He's working on who I will be in eternity and the pain of the moment may actually be used by God to mold me into what he has in mind, the person he wants me to be. My goal is to avoid pain not realizing that my solution really changes nothing long term, but simply postpones the changes God wants to make in me. We avoid pain, while God may use it as a tool in our lives. God and I often have different agendas, and to avoid what God is doing I will pursue my own solution and miss God's work. Pain is a good thing when you understand its purpose. Don't get in a hurry to avoid it, but ask God what he's working on. You might find that the pain of the moment is worth it for the goal God has in mind.

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