Hard to believe that October is ending today. Where has the year gone.......
Was surfing through the radio channels this morning and landed temporarily on a program about "happiness". Now normally I would turn it over right away, but I was lured in for a few moments by a guy talking about Jacob and his wrestling with the angel (see Genesis 32):
22 That night Jacob got up and took his two wives, his two maidservants and his eleven sons and crossed the ford of the Jabbok. 23 After he had sent them across the stream, he sent over all his possessions. 24 So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak. 25 When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob's hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man. 26 Then the man said, "Let me go, for it is daybreak." But Jacob replied, "I will not let you go unless you bless me."
He commented on the last sentence of this section. He said that as he traveled through life, he has learned a perspective of not letting go of a painful circumstance until he learned what the blessing was; he would not let himself mentally move on from a trying situation in his life unless he learned what blessing God wanted him to learn through it. A very mature view of life.
My mind was immediately drawn to James 1 - consider it a joy when you face trials because the testing of your faith is intended to bring completeness, maturity, wholeness (my abbreviated version of James 1 mind you; read it for yourself to see the whole context).
It seems though, the rest of culture is set up for pleasure and pain avoidance. Advertisers proclaim "you deserve a break"; vacations are billed as "escapes", pharmacists dispense drugs to help us avoid pain (not all bad mind you, but when we seek a pill for everything....), etc., setting itself in direct conflict with this perspective.
What if, instead of trying to escape pain and uncomfortable situations, we embraced them as learning experiences? What if we had the perspective of "I will not leave this situation until I have figured out the blessing that God has for me"? I think that we would be a bit more desirous of walking through pain instead of around it, less likely to run away from pain and a bit more like Jesus.