They say in the gym, ‘no pain, no gain’. And it’s true. Muscles get larger, technically, because fibers get torn and repaired. When that happens, the repair stretches over a larger area and increases the strength of the joint so that the muscle is now able to carry a larger load than before. And this gives the impression that strength has been gained. Similarly, cardiovascular muscles respond in much the same way to exercise, giving the impression of increased stamina.

Now, while the end result is desirable, anyone who has experienced the aches and pains of the muscular development process will tell you that getting the gain is painful. Muscles are stretched, tendons are sprained and lungs feel like they are on fire. But we do it, don’t we? We run, we cycle, we pump iron, just to get our muscle fibers to tear and repair, so that they will bulge.

What about our spiritual life? Pain is a given in our spiritual lives, isn’t it? Pain from loss, pain from anxiety, pain from disappointment. But unlike the pain we get from exercise, we dislike spiritual and emotional pain; we shun, run and hide from emotional and spiritual trials. And logically, that is perfectly understandable.

But if you are going through some pain in your life right now, if you are battling some discomfort and dis-ease, I have good news for you. Because of Jesus, with the pain, you will see gain.

Caveats first. This is not a message to advocate masochism. Please don’t read this and be so inspired that you go out looking for pain, or worse, start praying for pain to come into your life. That is not the point. What I want us to see is that even though pain is a constant in our lives, though we will always have some care and concern creep up when we least expect it, we can indeed echo these words of James.

“Consider it nothing but joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you fall into various trials. Be assured that the testing of your faith [through experience] produces endurance [leading to spiritual maturity, and inner peace]. And let endurance have its perfect result and do a thorough work, so that you may be perfect and completely developed [in your faith], lacking in nothing.” James 1:2 [AMP]

If you are going through pain right now, consider it joy. If your boss is giving you a hard time, consider it joy. If your children are running you up the wall or your finance are driving you into the ditch, consider all that joy. For through that testing, your faith ‘muscles’ will get mended over, they will grow larger and stronger than before, and you will grow in endurance. And eventually, you will get that perfect ‘faith body’ and physique that you were always meant to have.

But first things first. Tests and trials are not tools engineered by God. He neither needs them nor wants to use them to develop you. So don’t go away thinking that ‘God is testing me’. No, He is never testing you. But He does allow some trials to come to you because, as Joseph said of His brothers,

“But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive.” Genesis 50:20

Our Father knows that the trial is worthwhile for you to go through, so that you can develop your ‘faith muscles’.

Also, remember that you are never left alone to face your tests. Jesus is and will always be there with you and act for you.

And finally, at the end of it all, when it is all over,

“…When Jesus wraps this all up, it’s your faith, not your gold, that God will have on display as evidence of his victory.” 1 Peter 1:7 [MSG]

God allows the tests so that He can show you off.

And today, it is this last reality that I want to focus on; that with pain, we will surely experience gain.

Now, yesterday, we saw that God treats you the way He wants to be treated. So we can see just what His response to pain and loss is by looking at not just His promises, but also His commands, and this is what He has to say about loss.

“If a man steals an ox or a sheep, and slaughters it or sells it, he shall restore five oxen for an ox and four sheep for a sheep.” Exodus 22:1

And if someone steals,

“…He should make full restitution; if he has nothing, then he shall be sold for his theft.” Exodus 22:3

And “If the theft is certainly found alive in his hand, whether it is an ox or donkey or sheep, he shall restore double.” Exodus 22:4

“If a man causes a field or vineyard to be grazed, and lets loose his animal, and it feeds in another man’s field, he shall make restitution from the best of his own field and the best of his own vineyard.” Exodus 22:5

“If fire breaks out and catches in thorns, so that stacked grain, standing grain, or the field is consumed, he who kindled the fire shall surely make restitution.” Exodus 22:6

“If a man delivers to his neighbor money or articles to keep, and it is stolen out of the man’s house, if the thief is found, he shall pay double.” Exodus 22:7

Talk about restitution. Five oxen for an ox and four sheep for a sheep. But never mind that, anyone who has suffered loss under God’s watch will minimally receive double in recompense. That is God’s instruction, that is God’s law. So remember the instruction we received yesterday?

“Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” Matthew 7:12

So this is what God does.

“Then the Lord will be zealous for His land,
And pity His people.
The Lord will answer and say to His people,
“Behold, I will send you grain and new wine and oil,
And you will be satisfied by them;
I will no longer make you a reproach among the nations.” Joel 2:18-19

“So I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten,
The crawling locust,
The consuming locust,
And the chewing locust,
My great army which I sent among you.
You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied,
And praise the name of the Lord your God,
Who has dealt wondrously with you;
And My people shall never be put to shame.” Joel 2:25-26

For just as He said to Isaiah,

“Instead of your [former] shame you shall have a twofold recompense; instead of dishonor and reproach [your people] shall rejoice in their portion. Therefore in their land they shall possess double [what they had forfeited]; everlasting joy shall be theirs.” Isaiah 61:7 [AMP]

If you have suffered the pain of reproach, God will restore you. If you have suffered the pain of loss, God will restore to you. If you have suffered the pain of lack, God will restore to you. For ‘five oxen for an ox and four sheep for a sheep’ says the Lord. And if He makes that demand of us, how much more shall He restore to us who have suffered pain?

Yes, pain is undesirable. Yes, pain is unpalatable. We want to run away from it. We want to shun it. And so we should, if we can. But if we can’t, hold fast to the knowledge that it happens because our Father sees the something beautiful that will come out from all that pain and He knows that when it is all over, it will be so worth it for you.

And while you are on the way to the end, know that you are not alone, and neither is God punishing you for anything that you have or have not done. For remember that on the cross,

“Surely He has borne our griefs (sicknesses, weaknesses, and distresses) and carried our sorrows and pains [of punishment], yet we [ignorantly] considered Him stricken, smitten, and afflicted by God [as if with leprosy].
But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our guilt and iniquities; the chastisement [needful to obtain] peace and well-being for us was upon Him, and with the stripes [that wounded] Him we are healed and made whole.” Isaiah 53:4-5 [AMPC]

So that now,

“There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.” Romans 8:1

So rest in Jesus’ redeeming grace, knowing that not only has our Father promised that

“Instead of your [former] shame you shall have a twofold recompense; instead of dishonor and reproach [your people] shall rejoice in their portion. Therefore in their land they shall possess double [what they had forfeited]; everlasting joy shall be theirs.” Isaiah 61:7 [AMP]

He has also promised that

“Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by your name;
You are Mine.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you.
When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned,
Nor shall the flame scorch you.
For I am the Lord your God,
The Holy One of Israel, your Savior;” Isaiah 43:1-3

Keep your eyes on Jesus, for your restitution will surely come.

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