No Pain, No Gain

Since the events of Genesis 3, troubles have been the plight of mankind. As Christians, and to be perfectly honest, we sometimes bring troubles upon ourselves—through negligence (like car trouble, a leaky roof, a conflict with another) or disobedience (bad choices = unpleasant consequences). Yet, other times, we are hard-pressed to understand why, when we’re attentive and obedient, we experience trials. After all, we’ve been diligent in prayer and Bible study, and have tried to honor the Lord in all we do.
Do you realize that trials are actually evidence of your salvation, as well as another way for God to show His love and care for you? It’s true, but you don’t have to take my word for it (Acts 17:11). Let’s see what God’s Word has to say:

2 Timothy 3:12
Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.

Please bear with me as I use parts of verses—all addressed to believers—to show that going through trials is one of the byproducts of being a “saved by grace, believer in Christ.” (Italics added for emphasis)
“And after you have suffered a little while … ” (1 Peter 5:10).
“... be patient in tribulation … ” (Romans 12:12).
“In the world you will have tribulation …” (John 16:33).
“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds … ” (James 1:2).
“Many are the afflictions of the righteous …” (Psalm 34:19).
Now, granted, I only shared the negative parts of the above verses to make the point that believers should expect trials. What I didn’t show was the positive results of those trials and how God uses them to make us more like Him. Here’s the whole message of these verses (color and italics used for emphasis) to tell the “rest of the story”:
Knowing that we’re going to have trials, but that our hope in Christ will get us through them and make us better, should resonate loud and clear, especially if we’re familiar with the “no pain, no gain” mantra. When I looked up the genesis of this phrase, the first mention came from the Jane Fonda aerobics era in the 1980s to emphasize the hard work and rewards of exercise. However, when I dug a little deeper, I found that it was originally coined in the 1500s and was included in John Ray’s1 proverb collection penned in 1670 as “Without pains, no gains.”
To further make this point, I’d like to end with the following illustration. I hope and pray it speaks to you as it did me.

Malachi 3:3 NKJV
He will sit as a refiner and a purifier of silver.

There was once a group of women studying the book of Malachi in the Old Testament. When they got to Malachi 3:3, they wondered what this statement meant about the character and nature of God. One of the women offered to find out about the process of refining silver and get back to the group at their next Bible study.

That week, this woman contacted a silversmith and made an appointment to watch him at work. She didn’t mention anything about the reason for her interest beyond her curiosity about the process of refining silver. As she watched him, the silversmith held a piece of silver over the fire and let it heat up. He explained that in refining silver, one needed to hold the silver in the middle of the fire where the flames were hottest to burn away all the impurities.

The woman thought about God holding us in such a hot spot; then she thought again about the verse, that He “sits as a refiner and purifier of silver.” She asked the silversmith if it was true that he had to sit there in front of the fire the whole time the silver was being refined.

“Yes,” he responded and explained that he not only had to sit there holding the silver, but he had to keep his eyes on the silver the entire time it was in the fire. If the silver was left even a moment too long in the flames, it would be damaged.

The woman was silent for a moment. Then she asked the silversmith, “How do you know when the silver is fully refined?”

He smiled and answered, “Oh, that’s easy. When I see my image in it.”
                                                                                                                                             ~Unknown
Becoming like Christ is a difficult process, but the gain at the end is incomparable. Knowing He is with us every step of the way, ensuring that we are never taken through the fire to the point of harm, but only to perfect us to reflect His image, makes the pain pale in comparison to the joy that is to come.

1 Peter 4:12–13
Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ's sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy.

1In my brief research, I learned that John Ray was a committed Christian, a leading botanist and naturalist in the 17th century who launched great progress in the field of taxonomy based on his biblical worldview, and he wrote a sermon entitled, “The Wisdom of God Manifested in the Works of Creation.” He’s definitely a kindred spirit of long ago, and a much more satisfying find than the Jane Fonda reference.
To encourage you in your walk with Christ, download our free app where you will find hundreds of digital resources to train and equip you in staying bold in your faith. Just click HERE, and look for the blue asterisk on the black background.
We also invite you to read Carl Kerby’s testimony, which exemplifies the silver refining process, told within his book, Reasons for Hope in the Mosaic of Your Life. Available HERE at our Reasons for Hope Store.
If you seek answers to questions you or others may have, we invite you to purchase Did Jesus Commit Suicide? And 27 Other Questions Teens Are Asking About the Bible (that adults want to know, too). To order, click HERE.
Holly Varnum, Director of Curriculum Development, has decades of experience working with teens and adults in camp ministry, teaching, leadership, and curriculum writing (A Beka Book, Focus on the Family, and Answers in Genesis, to name a few). Saved at a very young age and with a passion for God’s truth, she has served in various roles including classroom teacher, homeschool mom, instructional coach, administrator, camp counselor, Sunday School and ladies’ Bible study teacher, and conference speaker.

Cooking/baking, hiking, traveling, and DIY projects are among her favorite pastimes. Holly and husband, Paul, have been married for almost 33 years, and enjoy any time spent with their three daughters, two sons-in-law, and two grandchildren (so far!). They live in Maine, and yes, eat lobster (properly pronounced “lobstah”) whenever they can!

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