“I don’t want it”, “it’s bitter”, “it’s nasty” and “it makes me sick” are a few phrases that children say prior to taking medication. In most cases the reason that children are forced to take the prescribed medication is because parents desire to see their children feel better, and overcome various sicknesses. The flavors of the medications are intended to disguise the medicinal taste that provokes the aforementioned childlike phrases; however, some things will never suit our taste and preferences.
The biggest challenges that we face come from preconceived notions that a loving God must always meet our desires with pleasant and delightful moments. We often feel that we should be exempt from bitter, nasty, and even sickening moments; however, we discover that those exemptions do not apply.
As a parent coerces, holds, and forces their beloved children to receive the medication to help them get better, we should realize that our Heavenly Father does the same for us. We don’t always see the benefit of these undesirable times instantly, but the songwriter’s conventional wisdom was true when they penned the words that “we will understand it better by and by”.
To fully understand how medicines go to the area of pain is a mystery to me, but amazingly it does in most cases. It is with the same amazement that I consider how divine delays, discomforts, and disappoints develops us into being better men and women. While these are mysteries to me, I have much confidence that we will be better when we take what has been prescribed to us because the one who writes the prescriptions not only knows medicine, but knows us.
I have seen the love of God displayed even when those who loved Him endured through challenging times in their life. Losing loved ones, facing unemployment, experiencing marriage problems, raising rebellious children, hearing disappointing news, and facing sickness have been a few moments that God allowed His children not to escape but embrace with solace. While He loves them, His grace and mercy are noticed to hold them even through the trials and pains. Ultimately, they discover more about God and themselves through challenges than they would if they had never faced these bad moments. It is with this discovery that I feel we can face life not grudgingly; rather, face life joyfully knowing that we are developing (James 1:1-3).
To accept the fact that God knows the plans He has for us, plans to prosper us and not to harm us, plans to give us hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11) can allow us to have more confidence in what we are facing. Even if we are not fully comfortable with the present moment, we can have confidence that it was prescribed for our good and development in the future. Even if it does not taste good, feel good, or look good we can have the assurance that it is “working together”…for our good (Romans 8:28).
Rev. Steven D. Young is the pastor of THE CROSS Baptist Church in Tyler, TX. He is happily married to Yolanda Yvette and the father of Nyia, Tyra, and Steven II (Sonny).