Today our two-month-old grandson got his first shots. I believe the quote from his mother was: “Poor guy screamed and cried so hard he turned red and could barely breathe. But he calmed down fast and is now sleeping.” The little pinch of those shots is necessary to keep away the much more devastating pain of illness and disease.
Tim Ferris, author of The Four Hour Work Week, intentionally makes things uncomfortable for himself. Tim has written numerous bestselling books, has been involved in multiple start-up companies in Silicon Valley, and has a wildly successful podcast. He could be very comfortable, sit back relax, and be lazy.
But he puts adversity in his own path. He works out religiously and is careful about the food he puts in his body. He’s learned it from other successful people. He knows that no one, no matter how rich, goes through life without difficulty. We might as well be ready for it.
I confess to being lazy sometimes. It’s so much easier to simply remain comfortable, neglect exercise, and eat whatever I want. But becoming mentally tough and doing difficult things is often the better way to go. Here’s why:
- Pain now prevents pain later. Like our little grandson’s temporary discomfort, our own pain now will prevent greater pain later. The “pain” of exercise and eating right will prevent the greater difficulty of too much weight, disease, or getting back into shape later on down the road. Other types of pain in our lives do the same.
- Adversity builds character. If things are always comfortable, when diversity comes it can be devastating. But if we train ourselves with smaller adversities now, they will make difficulties down the road (perhaps?) a bit easier to take. Character is a much undervalued virtue in this day and age.
- Our own pain enables us to help others through theirs. Not only is this practical, it is also biblical. The Bible teaches us that sometimes we go through difficulty so that we can help others. Our experience with a certain adversity will enable us to help others who celebrate that very same adversity.
Adversity and difficulty right now can be a gift. Let’s try to look at it that way. In a sinful world, pain is inevitable. We pray that it will be minimal. And we pray that it will help us to help others.
What other reasons do you have that pain can actually be good for us?