Saturday, September 5, 2015

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. For young women who have just given birth or are anxiously awaiting delivery,  I’m sure Labor Day has a special significance for them this year!

Wishing all my readers a blessed Labor Day weekend and a new start to the work and school year. May you enjoy this repost from the archives!

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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Denise said...

bless you dear.

Laurie Collett said...

God bless you too, Denise!

Frank E. Blasi said...

Dear Laurie,
Here in the UK we don't have "Labor Day", so I'm not too sure what this particular day in the American year represents.
But I am aware what it's like to work for a prickly boss, and here I can add that the fellow who doggedly goes to work everyday to a job he hates in order to support his wife and family, is more masculine than the heavily-built logger who walks out from his household just to fulfill his own selfish desires.
Then again, to have a Jewish carpenter who is full of empathy for a boss, I can live with that! Because for the last 35 years I worked as self-employed, and depended on the Lord for his sustenance.
I can testify without shadow of doubt that God has taken care of me since the moment of conception, even if for the first twenty years of my life I never knew him.
And now, ready to retire, I believe that the Lord will continue to sustain us until he calls us home.
An encouraging post. God bless.

Laurie Collett said...

Dear Frank,
Labor Day is a US (and Canadian) national holiday celebrating the American labor movement and the role of the American worker in ensuring the vitality and prosperity of American society. For the most part, Americans celebrate it as the last long weekend of the summer -- last barbecue or beach trip. For the fashion conscious, it's the last time white is in style until summer returns.
Praise God that He is not only our Boss (for we must be in our Father's business), but our Creator, Sustainer and Redeemer.
Thanks as always for your encouraging comments, and God bless,

Michele Morin said...

Laurie, this is so timely and well-researched! God values our work and the way we work! Great thoughts here!

Brenda said...

Amen Laurie,
our trials and tribulations are well worth going through if they, through the Holy Spirit's counselling and comforting, take away the worldly nature as in strife, competition and envy.
Jesus said that in Him we have peace, and this is so true. Just as painful birth pangs can be spiritually compared to our trials as we are renewed in Christ, learning to love God and love one another, the end result will be the greatest prize we will ever have obtained. Praise God for Jesus our Saviour.
God bless you Laurie.

Laurie Collett said...

Thank you, Michele, for your kind words of encouragement! Praise God that He knows of all we do and keeps excellent records!
Hope you are having a blessed Labor Day!

Laurie Collett said...

Amen, Brenda! May we keep our eyes fixed on the Prize, for He is the Pearl of great price. May we yield to the Holy Spirit as He molds, shapes and directs us.
God bless you too,

Donald Fishgrab said...

When I consider the demands by various religions I realize just how blessed we are to have a God who loves us, and just asks for our love in return. Even many so called "Christian" groups struggle to be good enough or sacrifice enough to buy their god's favor and attention.

Laurie Collett said...

So true, Donald! We can never be "good enough" in our own flesh, but only through His righteousness imputed to us once we trust Him. Praise God for His unconditional, self-sacrificing love!
God bless,

My Cozy Corner said...

Thank you for joining Thursday Favorite Things @ Katherines Corner.
Betty @ My Cozy Corner Co-Hostess at Katherines Corner

Laurie Collett said...

Thanks, Betty, for your visit & for hosting!

Mary Hill said...

This study blessed me. I love the ties you made to Labor Day and God's grace and love. Thanks for linking up with Literacy Musing Mondays.

Laurie Collett said...

Thank you, Mary, for hosting, and for your encouraging comment! I'm blessed to hear you enjoyed the post!
May you have a wonderful week,

Tina at said...

I will never think of Labor Day in quite the same way again! Thanks for sharing this post at Booknificent Thursday!