The thought of sacrifice is one that we tend to run away from. We look for ways to avoid pain, to avoid struggle – even though most of us can recall a time in life when sacrifice or pain led to something great. Whether it was the pain of training for a sport, sacrificing sleep in order to ace a test in school, or the pain of childbirth – we can see how pain and sacrifice can lead to great joy. So why do we run away from it?
Recently on The Joe Sikorra Show, Joe discussed the relationship between pain and joy and reflected on how pain can, in fact, be a great teacher. He said:
“Do you think when Jesus says ‘Take up your cross and follow me,’ He’s saying that because He wants us to be miserable? Or is it possible that He says when you embrace the struggle, pick up your cross, sacrifice, when you give, it will actually bring you joy? Is that a possibility?
He doesn’t want you to be miserable, He wants you to be joyful, happy. He’s looking out for your eternal soul. And yet, so often we turn on the TV or open a magazine and we see, ‘Do this and you’ll be happy!’ ‘Do this! Wear this! Eat this! Take this pill! Come to our resort!’ Everything that pleasure can offer.
Except, pain might give you more pleasure in itself. That’s the whole dichotomy of this thing. And Jesus warns you that your expectations and your life can be dulled by parties, and drinking, and dissipation.
God doesn’t want you to be miserable, He wants you to be right alongside with Him for eternity. … Paul reminds you in Romans, he’s warning you about becoming so absorbed and exhausted at life and all the obligations. And he said be up and awake to what God is doing. You can’t squander a minute. You can’t spend these precious daylight hours in frivolities, and sleeping around, and dissipation. You think you’re living life but you’re squandering what God paid such a high price for. It’s a great warning, and yet so often there is so much of life that is in competition with your faith.
What has pain taught you? What are those experiences that at the time you thought ‘this is the worst possible thing’ – whether it was emotional pain, physical pain, psychologically separating you, isolating you – and then you said it was the best thing?
What has pain taught you that pleasure never could? Have you ever experienced pain as a gift?”
The Joe Sikorra Show airs weekdays from 5:00 – 7:00 p.m. Pacific on Immaculate Heart Radio.