Saturday, August 31, 2013

Labor Day Pains


To me, Labor Day always brings forth mixed emotions, as the joy of a three-day holiday may be tempered with discomfort, or even pain, over our labor. In our church, several young women have just given birth, and others are anxiously awaiting delivery, so I’m sure Labor Day has a special significance for them this year!

For people who have lost their job, there may be no Labor Day celebration, but instead the heartache of going without, and having faith stretched from one meal or rent payment to the next. For those blessed to be employed, there may be the aggravation of unappreciative employers or disgruntled customers, or the weariness of overwork on too little sleep.

Some may pour their whole being into their career, at the expense of family, social life, or even time for worshipping and serving God, only to feel the pain of being passed over for promotion by the rising star who captured the boss’ attention. Those who play by the rules, support the team, and pay their dues may be sorely disappointed when those in the favored clique, or those who outmaneuver their competition, advance unfairly, despite their lack of experience. Life in the working world is full of trouble and pain, and it seldom seems fair.

Thankfully, God isn’t fair either, because His grace gives believers what we don’t deserve (Ephesians 2:8-9), and His mercy keeps Him from giving us eternal punishment in hell, which our sins do deserve (Romans 6:23). No matter what our earthly situation, believers in Christ can find joy (Psalm 21:1;32:11; Isaiah 29:19; 61:10; Matthew 25:21; Romans 5:11; etc.) and peace (Philippians 4:7) in knowing that He is working all circumstances together for our good and His glory (Romans 8:28).

We can endure the “labor pains” because He has appointed us to a specific occupation, to serve Him with the unique gifts, talents, and opportunities He has given us (1 Corinthians 12:4-6;28; Ephesians 4:11), and to glorify Him in all we do (1 Corinthians 10:31).. As the bumper sticker says, “Our Boss is a Jewish Carpenter” Who has empathy for our struggles (Hebrews 4:15) and supports us through trials and hardships (Philippians 4:13).

His grace is sufficient, and His strength is made perfect in our weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9). He sees, honors and remembers work done for Him and will reward our labor, if not in this world, then in the next, where we can enjoy the rewards forever (1 Corinthians 3:9-14).

Best of all, He knows our sinful, wicked hearts (Genesis 6:5; Jeremiah 17:9-10), but He loves us anyway (Romans 5:8). We don’t have to prove our worth, for we have none on our own merits (Isaiah 64:6; John 15:5). He is not interested in our qualifications, but in our justification by His shed blood (Romans 4:25; 5:16-18). Once we commit our lives to Him, we are guaranteed payment of the richest treasure imaginable – life in His presence throughout eternity (John 3:16), no matter for how long or short a time we have been saved (Matthew 20:1-16).

So why is this life often full of pangs of disappointment, physical disability and sickness, and even Godly sorrow? (2 Corinthians 7:10) I believe it is because we long for His return and the blessed hope (Titus 2:13), meaning eager anticipation, of the Rapture, when He will wipe every tear from our eye (Revelation 21:4). Then we shall enjoy eternity with Him in glorified bodies that will never experience pain, sickness or aging (1 Corinthians 15:40-50).

In the meantime, His whole creation is going through labor pains (Romans 8:21-22), anxiously awaiting the day when all will be made new by His refining fire (2 Peter 3:10-12). We groan in our aging bodies (Romans 8:23), yet the quickening pace and intensity of these pangs brings us inevitably closer to that day when we can truly experience being a completely new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 6:15).

Once we place our faith in His death, burial and resurrection as the only way to Heaven (1 Corinthians 15:1-4; John 14:6), we are born again (John 3:3-8). But on that day when all His children shall be changed and meet Him in the air, we shall live forever and be as He is (1 Corinthians 15:51-54). In the meantime, anticipation of this blessed event, and knowing that our labor for Him is not in vain (1 Corinthians 15:51-58) helps us endure and even embrace these Labor Day pains!  


© 2013 Laurie Collett
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35 comments:

  1. Hi Laurie,
    I love the fact that 'There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.' God bless you Laurie.

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    1. Amen, Brenda -- may we always be yielded to the Spirit, which is the only way to subdue our flesh.
      Many blessings to you and your ministry,
      Laurie

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  2. "God isn't fair" so thankful for this truth!

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    1. Amen. Marty! Praise God for His amazing mercy and grace!
      May you have a blessed week in Him,
      Laurie

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  3. What a wonderful post Laurie. We are neighbors at The Weekend Brew. Thank God for His Grace! Where would I, all of us, be without out it? God isn't fair; but He is just. And He just loved us so much He died for us. Blessings!

    I'm not real sure why it's posting me as anonymous, but here is my blog: http://livingreal-blog.com/

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    1. Thank you so much for your visit and lovely comment! We're just sinners saved by the grace of our awesome Creator Who knows us and loves us anyway.
      Checking out your blog now! God bless,
      Laurie

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  4. HI Laurie! Thank you for these timely words. We should all depend on the Lord, and not ourselves, and that does cause us pain.

    My husband has been out of work for over a year. I just have to believe that God has a better plan for him, for us. He is not 'fair' as we see it. But I know he loves me!

    Happy Weekend!
    Ceil

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    1. Hi Ceil,
      Praise God that He knows what we need before we ask Him, that His timing is always perfect, & that He works all things together for our good!
      Praying for you & your husband & his work situation.
      Love in Him,
      Laurie

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  5. All my love and prayers for the many unemployed and homeless families; they are always in my heart. What a lovely post to sing praises and thanks for all the blessings ...and yes, pains....in our lives.

    I hope you have a wonderful Labor Day, full of thankfulness and joy!
    Denise

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    1. Sharing in your prayer, Denise. May those who are hurting know the peace found only in Him and His glorious provision & protection.
      Thank you for your lovely and encouraging comment, and may you have a blessed Labor Day and week to come!
      Laurie

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  6. SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO glad that God isn't fair but is gracious and merciful! Otherwise NONE of us would be saved but spend an eternity in Hell!

    Wonderful post! I followed your post from Betty Jo's Living Real blog! Always good to find another sister in the Lord on the web! Blessings to you!

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    1. Amen, Vicky! We have so much to be thankful for, especially His amazing grace!
      Thank you so much for your visit and sweet comment! Lovely to "meet" you too, dear sister!
      God bless,
      Laurie

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  7. Laurie,
    Thanks for sharing at Sunday Stillness. Yes - I too remember Labour Day. My firstborn - born Sept 1 - and that was Labour Day that year. Too funny.
    Blessings,
    Janis www.janiscox.com

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    1. That is funny, Janis! Labor Day indeed! Ours was born on Monday, April 16, which was tax day that year!
      Many blessings to you,
      Laurie

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  8. Wonderful thoughts and encouraging words for those who may be out of work or just discouraged. Resting in His work on this Labor Day :)

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    1. Thanks so much, Anne, for your visit and kind comment! Praise God that He gives us not only the opportunity to labor for Him, but that He gives us perfect rest as we cast our cares on Him!
      May you have a blessed week in Him,
      Laurie

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  9. lovely devotional - planning on sharing this with some friends of mine who are looking for work...

    visiting from ann's today!

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    1. Thanks, Richelle! I'm glad you enjoyed the post and will share it. May you have a blessed week in Him!
      Laurie

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    1. And you also, dear one.
      Love in Him,
      Laurie

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  11. It's always good to remember we are like soldiers stationed in another country. One of these days when our tour of duty is finished, we get to go home. In the meantime we may have to put up with some things we don't much like.

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    1. Great analogy, Donald! Looking forward to that day, and trusting His promises until then.
      God bless,
      Laurie

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  12. Hi Laurie,

    Stopping by from Ann's link up to say hello.

    Jennifer Dougan
    www.jenniferdougan.com

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    1. Hello, Jennifer! Thanks so much for your visit & comment. Many blessings to you & your ministry,
      Laurie

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  13. Thanks so much for the visit, Ann! God bless,
    Laurie

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  14. I was just thanking God today for not being fair, though not in those words. I was just thankful that Grace covers what we alone certainly cannot.

    Thank you for linking to Super Sunday Sync!

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    1. Amen, Rosey! His "unfair" grace and mercy are the best blessing we could possibly receive!
      Thanks for your comment & for hosting & God bless,
      Laurie

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  15. Dear Laurie,
    I aplologiswe for the delay in reading and commenting on your latest blog, but Alex my wife fell ill last week and was taken to hospital, where she is at present, and much of my spare time was spent by her bedside. It has also been very distressing for me being alone at home.
    This is a very appropiate post. In this situation, there is no greater need for God's presence than right now.
    Although addressed to Israel, nevertheless, I felt God speak to me through Isaiah chapters 41 and 42 as those chapters came alive as I read them. They have brough hope to me in the midst of despair.
    Again, a great post.

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    1. Dear Frank,
      Please don't feel that any apology is necessary -- your comments are always a blessing, no matter when you make them, and I certainly understand and sympathize with your situation. My prayers are with Alex for complete and rapid healing, and with both of you for peace in the Lord and comfort in Him.

      Praise God that He is our strength and our refuge, a very present help in time of trouble; that He will never leave us nor forsake us; and that He speaks to us through His Word.

      Thank you so much, as always, for taking the time to comment -- your words are always an encouragement to me and a great source of insight for all of us.

      God bless to you and Alex,
      Laurie

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  16. Laurie...Thought-filled post here. I have always used Labor Day as a reminder to teach our children the value of working hard unto the glory of God. And His grace is amazing every day! Thank you for the encouragement.

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    1. Thank you so much, Naomi, for your visit and lovely comment! Praise God for His amazing grace, and for giving us the blessing of working unto His glory.
      Love in Him,
      Laurie

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  17. I really enjoyed reading your reflection on Labor day and I thank you for linking up with us again at the #MTMmixer and sharing your musings with us! Have a wonderful week!

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    1. Thanks, Christine, for your kind comment & for hosting! May you have a blessed week in Him,
      Laurie

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  18. I love the way you have woven Labor to consider so many facits of life, from child birth, to occupation, no occupation, work for the Lord. How this old earth does labor for the release of the return of Jesus is another one. Thank you for sharing your awesome post at "Tell Me a Story."

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    1. Thanks so much, Hazel, for your kind and thoughtful comment and for hosting! May you have a blessed week in Him!
      Laurie

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