I recently saw the Makeover Week episode of The Biggest Loser. The contestants have been working very hard to lose weight all season and on this episode their new bodies were treated to makeovers. When the makeover process was complete, each contestant was blessed with a surprise visit from a family member or friend.
One woman walked out in her sparkly strapless ball gown, looking like a princess right off the Disney screen. Her Dad was there waiting. He stared at his beautiful daughter, hugged her and stared some more in proud awe. What surprised me was the woman’s reaction in this moment. She didn’t appear to enjoy this like you would expect. Her tears welled up. She looked at her father and hugged him silently. Her eye contact and body language communicated for her.
“I did it, Daddy. I’m finally beautiful, I can’t even believe this is me!” she seemed to say. In disbelief, she simply stood there and sobbed.
What a ‘eureka’ moment for me! All the times I’ve conquered a battle in my life have been sweet–but not as sweet as the stunning realization that I made it through. My mind and emotions replay all it took to get there: the blood, sweat and tears paid, the hard times endured, the testing, the suffering, the desperation, the hopeless moments of asking “why do I even try?”
But I did make it through! God carried me through and I was better for it! I was stronger, more hopeful, more beautiful–in ways that cannot fade with age. He had a purpose and He blessed me even in my afflictions.
…we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. Romans 5:3-5, NIV
We appreciate our suffering not because it’s easy and painless but because God provides for our needs. He never abandons us and carefully grows us, prunes us. He created us so He knows what it will take to make us more patient, committed, graceful, forgiving, etc. And as we clear each of our hurdles in life, God then uses us to help others to clear their hurdles. It’s a beautiful thing!
The Bible says in 2 Corinthians 1 that the God of all comfort comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort He has given us. We endure that we might help others endure.
My prayer is that this gives you hope. God has a plan even for your painful processes. See your way to God and His loving, protecting arms even if you can’t possibly see to the other side of your battle. He will take your right hand and say “Do not fear, I will help you”. And when your storm has been weathered, when your battle is won, you can grab the hand of someone else still struggling and exclaim, “I did it! Because of my Father!” glorifying God by pointing another weary soul to Him for help.
Originally published in the Summer 2011 Real Women Real Life
Oak Creek Assembly of God Women’s Ministry Newsletter