“God is not punishing you. God is preparing you. Trust God’s plans, not your pain.” (Artsy Christian)
When I came across today’s quote, I knew instantly I wanted to write a daily reflection about it, simply because I’ve struggled for years now wondering at times if I’m being punished by God for all my past transgressions, as I know there have been a lot of them in this life alone. Yet, somehow, I find myself constantly returning to the belief that maybe it’s just human beings who have labeled God as this wrathful punisher of people, as doesn’t that judgment always seem to come at the precise moments in our lives when things aren’t going the way our ego wants and desires?
So, if that’s not the case, and God really isn’t a punishing God, then why does God allow such difficult pain and suffering to occur for many of us in our lives? Could it be solely to help prepare us for some greater plan that is beyond our understanding? Is it possible that our pain and suffering is simply a level of discipline that Jesus once talked about, that becomes truly necessary to help us reach our highest potential in life? I know that’s a hard concept to swallow and believe me when I saw that my ego often fights this very notion, especially when I’m going through a stream of days, weeks, months, and even years where my mind and body writhes in agony more than not.
But, there is something quite good that’s actually come out of all this pain and suffering that probably wouldn’t have happened if I never had to face any of my health issues in the first place. You see, it’s all this pain and suffering that’s driven me to rid myself of every bit of hate, anger, negativity, and judgment that once consumed the majority of my life. And the more I’ve done that, the more I seem to cultivate higher and higher levels of compassion, unconditional love, acceptance, and forgiveness of others, which are four things I never had much of before all my pain and suffering began.
Thus, to put it rather bluntly, I’m leaning more and more these days to believe that God is like a loving parent who disciplines their child, solely to protect them from going down paths that will only lead to more pain and suffering and away from them ever reaching their highest potential. Sure, many of us often fight that discipline whenever it feels present and instead choose to take our free will somewhere else. But, honestly, where has that ever gotten you? For me, fighting the discipline has usually just led to an even deeper pit of despair filled with an even greater level of pain and suffering.
That’s why I’m opting to place my hope and faith more so nowadays in the idea that God is actually preparing me for something greater through all this pain and suffering, rather than believing it’s simply a punishment for all my past transgressions. As given the growing level of connection I feel in my heart today to everyone and everything, I ultimately am seeing more good coming out of this discipline than not. And frankly, I would gladly rather remain on this path, than go back to any day before all this pain and suffering began, where my life was engulfed in far too much negative energy and darkness.
Dear God, if I’m ever wrong, please correct me. If I’m ever lost, please guide me. And if I ever start to give up, especially on You, please help me to keep going and to keep trusting in You.
Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson