With Great Pain Comes Great Endurance

by | Jan 25, 2017

I have always been told that with “great pain comes great endurance.” I think most of us can say that we’ve seen this play out in our own lives.

However, I didn’t fully embrace this concept until I started reading “The Great Divorce” by C.S. Lewis. If you have not read this book, I encourage you to pick it up and learn from Lewis’ insightful perspectives.

One of my main takeaways from this book was Lewis’ depiction of this very concept of pain. To provide some context, the story looks at a group of “earthlings” taking a bus trip up to Heaven and encountering God’s land and people in full, true form. From the beginning, the “earthling” quickly notices that his body was not made for heaven, and begins to see his weak, translucent, and ghostly-like figure struggling to withstand the fullness of the creation of God. He mentions how he “… noticed that the grass did not bend under their feet; even the dew drops were not disturbed …” and continues to note that he “tried to pick the leaf up …[but his] heart almost cracked with effort …” (pg. 21).

As the story continues, the “earthling” meets a spirit who informs him that this pain and struggle is only temporary and will not disappear, but will become easier to withstand because of the endurance he will build. The spirit sums this up well saying, “Will you come with me to the mountains? It will hurt at first, until your feet are hardened. Reality is harsh to the feet of shadows …” (pg. 39).

This illustration is fitting for many of us in our work. How many times do we encounter a project or a season that may not be comfortable, or is completely unexpected? What about the times when it feels like there is just too much to handle?

Thankfully, God provides clear and promising words in the Bible to give us hope. Romans 5:3 states, “Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance.” But we also need to be reminded that God does not promise to take away our pain and replace it with success when we’ve completed the trial. In fact, sometimes we need pain and struggle to learn to rely on God more fully. For the ultimate gain is to understand and know the Lord more.

Lewis captures this well later in the book when one of the spirits tells the earthling, “You can lean on me all the way. I can’t absolutely carry you, but you need have almost no weight on your own feet: and it will hurt less and less at every step” (pg. 60).

So I want to encourage you. In whatever season or stage you may be in your work or personal life — welcome the struggle, the pain, and the sufferings. And when you do, remember to “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, and be faithful in prayer” (Romans 12:12), with the expectation that we have the opportunity to lean on and learn more about our Creator..


Your work matters,

Elise Farrell

Marketing Manager, Workmatters