On Sunday, in our parenting life group, we were discussing the idea of character vs. comfort. How we want our children to develop good character and sometimes that means allowing them to go through hard things in order to built that character.
I was thinking about this the other day and I realized that this is also how God feels about us. As a parent, I don’t want my children to experience pain or hardship, but I know that sometimes it is necessary for them to grow. God also does not want to see us suffer things that are difficult or painful, but He knows it will make us more like Christ to experience these difficulties in our lives. When I look at it that way, I can better understand why God allows us to go through things that are hard. He doesn’t want us to be spoiled children who don’t know what it is to suffer, and through that suffering grow.
My son Joshua is 18 months. He was born 11 weeks early and as a result has been behind in his developement. He has been having physical therapy to help him walk. He has weak muscles and we are having to make him do exercises to strengthen them. He HATES it. He cries and whines and gets mad, but I know as a parent, that he will never walk unless he does these exercises. I know that his pain is for his own good. I could take the easy way out and avoid his crying by allowing him to not do his exercises, but what kind of parent would I be? He would never walk, and that would be bad for him later on. God knows that we need to strengthen our spiritual muscles by going through hard things, so that we can grow stronger and become more like Christ.
God also does not give us what we want all the time. I know that with my children they want a lot of stuff. I could give them all this stuff which would satisfy them now, but what good would it do them in the long run? It would be detrimental to their character because they would become spoiled brats that no one would want to be around. Instead, I make them work for what they get and this produces character. God does not give us everything we ask for because He knows that if we got everything we wanted it would not produce good character in us. He is not a cosmic vending machine. He desires a relationship with us.
Pain is never easy, but it is necessary in our lives if we ever want to grow into the person God wants us to be.