Think

Published on Apr 10th, 2013 by Pastor Ed Hlad | 0

My daughter is 6 months pregnant and the other day she was experiencing tightness and cramps (I know, TMI).  We thank the Lord that it was nothing more than the natural progression of uncomfortableness that comes with the last trimester (I am really impressed that I knew that term) of pregnancy.  As I was texting with my daughter she began to speak about how strong she believes Lillian is.  She said that her insides seemed bruised from all the kicking and moving that she was doing.  Up until that point I was able to sympathize with my daughter in little ways.  In my great love for my daughter and wanting to walk with her through this ordeal, I have put on a few pounds.  Just so I could experience what she was experiencing.  OK, that is a lie but I do know what it is like to carry a few extra pounds.  It is not pleasant.  But when my daughter began to speak of being bruised up inside I just could not relate.  As a man, I will never be able to experience the unbelievable joy of having a life grow inside of you.  I have heard many complaints about the curse of pain in child birth, but I believe I would be willing to experience the pain if I was able to experience the joy of child growing inside of me.  I would probably be the biggest whiner of them all during the difficult days, but I would gladly welcome the pain and uncomfortableness for the experience of pregnancy.

 

As I shared with my daughter my jealousy of the privilege that God had granted her, I began to think of Phil 4:8 – “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” It is possible that the pain and uncomfortableness of pregnancy shouts so loud that the indescribable joy of life is drowned out.  Paul tells us that finally, at the end of the day, after we have weighed all things going on in our life, that we are to set our mind on that which is true, honorable, pure, lovely, and commendable.  We are then to search for that which is excellent and worthy of praise and we are to think about those things last.  I cannot, at times, stop pain from shouting or stop myself from thinking about difficult circumstances or thinking about areas in my life that I do not like.  Those things come into my thinking and are such a big part of my life that they must be dealt with.  But I can choose what I will think about last.  I can choose what I will allow to linger in my mind as I drift away from that which was consuming my mind.

 

Where I think we may miss the point Paul is making is when we try to find something redeemable in our difficult situations.  We think about how we can act for God’s glory…that is a truth.  We can think about loving our enemy…that is honorable.  We keep trying to redeem, somehow, that which may be unredeemable.  I am not saying that we do not seek to act in every situation in a godly way.  Of course we should.  I just don’t think that is Paul’s point.  Think about it.  What is true?  Honorable?  Worthy of your praise?  Would it help if I asked, “Who is true?  Honorable? Excellent?”.  Paul is pointing us to Jesus.  He is encouraging us to fix our eyes on Jesus.

 

So, will it help my daughter to think about the joy of pregnancy, a joy I will never experience, when she is going through pain and uncomfortableness.  Yes, it will.  But we must be honest here.  My daughter was more than uncomfortable.  She was scared.  If we are honest with ourselves we will have to admit that worry and fear are what is often the worst part of the pain and difficult situations.  That is why Paul speaks of rejoicing and the peace of God in this passage (read Phil 4:4-7).  That only comes when we fix our eyes on Jesus.  Only Jesus can proclaim to be bigger than life itself.  Only Jesus can promise an eternal existence that far outweighs any pain experienced here.  Only Jesus can fulfill the promise that all things will work together for good.  Only Jesus can redeem that which is unredeemable.

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