Last week, I was attacked by a case of extreme heartburn — the first I’ve had in a long time. And it sucked. It sucked because I thought I was over this. It sucked because once it’s hit, there’s little I can do to make it stop. There’s little I can do to control — or even understand — the situation. But in the midst of my reoccurring chest pain, I listened to a Mark Driskol sermon and he said something that really gave me perspective.
He was talking about Jesus enduring the cross for “the joy set before him,” and he said that there is joy in — or through — everything. He talked about bad days, and he said that really, since the fall, every day has been a bad day. And that might sound cynical, but I think it’s actually a beautiful way to look at life. If I realize that no day will be completely perfect, I’ll stop expecting so much — I’ll stop trying to control my days and simply accept them for what they are. When I wake up half an hour late and the freeway is backed up, it won’t be such a big deal. When my chest starts burning and I’m reminded that I’m not in control, it won’t be really be a surprise.
As believers, we, like Jesus, have joy set before us. And that’s what makes all the bad days worth it. Sure, there’s crap we have to go through. Our hearts will burn with acid reflux and break with intense pain. But in the big picture, that’s okay. It’s okay, because it’s not the end of the story. It’s the part of the story where we grow. And, pardon the expression, but it’s the crap that helps us grow. It’s enduring through suffering with the one who gave the ultimate example of suffering that draws us closer to Him — the one who also has ultimate control.