"The Hurt of Love"
While lovingly concerned with our comfort, our Heavenly Father' primary attention concerns our character, namely, our conformity to the spiritual and moral image of the Lord Jesus Christ.
"Like as a father pitieth his children, so the LORD pitieth them that fear Him" (Psalm 103:13).
"We which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus' sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh" (II Corinthians 4:11).
If it were possible for the cup of challenge, difficulty, and sorrow to pass from us in this lifetime, certainly our Lord would always prevent or deliver us from trouble. Or, He would immediately apply the balm of complete comfort in our pains. Presently, this is not possible. We actually need pain during our earthly sojourn, in a myriad of emotional, physical, and even spiritual modes and measures. "Before I was afflicted, I went astray. But now, I have kept Thy Word" (Psalm 119:67). Apart from difficulty, we would never have come to know the Lord, nor would a challenge free life lead to continuing to walk with Him. Thus, we require blessing, which our Father joyfully administers whenever possible. We also require buffeting, which our Father also administers, but certainly with no pleasure as He wields the necessary rod.
Presently, character trumps comfort. Love, the love of God, decrees such Divine devotion to our best interests. Thus, when challenge lingers, or pain abides, or prayers seemingly go unanswered, we can be sure that we are loved no less than in those hours of deliverance, healing, and obvious Heavenly response. Perhaps we are loved even more. The Father who works toward our eternal blessedness in Christ declares it to be His "good pleasure" to give us the kingdom (Luke 12:32). Presently, however, He must also give to us the challenge that carves His Son's character upon the slate of our hearts. It hurts, doubtless both ourselves and Him. We might consider it the hurt of love, known by both the recipient and the Administrator of purposes that will ultimately give to us the best gift we could ever receive, namely, likeness to Christ.
"My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing."
Weekly Memory Verse
Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering, for He is faithful that promised.