It’s winter, and that means sickness. Recently, 3 of my 4 children were sick with various things at the same time. One of my daughters had a very bad cough at first, and then later in the week developed a double ear infection.
However, my daughter does not like to take medicine. Actually, let me rephrase that…she hates taking medicine. So much so that when we tried to get her to take cough medicine so her cough would get better, she flat-out refused. Instead, she screamed and cried as if we were cutting her hand off or something. And no matter how much I tried to calm her down and reason with her as to why she should take the medicine, it was of no use. She just continued to scream and cry.
She also, after she received the medicine for her double ear infection, would start to take the medicine but then end up spitting it out after only swallowing a small portion of it. That doesn’t really help either, because she is not getting the full amount she needs for the medicine to be as effective as it is intended to be.
Why won’t she take the medicine? Because it tastes yucky! She does not want to have that bad taste in her mouth for the few moments that it would last from taking the medicine. So she screams, cries, fights, and flat-out refuses to take the medicine. And no matter how much someone tries to reason with her, she won’t listen. It tastes gross in the moment when she would have to swallow it, so she refuses to swallow it. End of discussion.
Rationally speaking, this is obviously absurd, because while the taste is bad for the moment, in the long run she will feel better. But by avoiding the bad taste for a moment, the sickness lasts longer before she begins to feel better. So why not just endure the bad taste now momentarily rather than continue to be sick longer? It just makes no sense.
Then again she is only 6 years old…so rationale is not what she is basing her thought process on. She is also human…and this is just a showing of the human condition we all have.
The reality is, all of us have acted this way at times before. Perhaps not with medicine specifically, but we have acted that way. We as humans do not like to be in pain or to suffer, so we try to avoid pain and suffering if at all possible. Even if the pain and suffering will be temporary and the result will be better than our current condition, we often still choose to act like my 6-year-old daughter reacts to medicine.
We do all we can to avoid the pain of dealing with issues or problems now, or we try to sidestep any suffering that might be coming our way through difficult life circumstances. Yet the fact is that dealing with issues and problems, or walking through difficult life circumstances, is often how we grow and mature.
This is true of how we grow as humans in this life, as well as how we grow in our faith as Followers of Christ. Consider what God says to us through the messages given to James and Peter…
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. (James 1:2-4)
…though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 1:6-7)
Why do we do all we can to avoid the temporary pain and suffering that might come with dealing with our issues or difficult life circumstances now, when if we would just be willing to do what we need to in the moment, we would heal faster and obtain what is better on the other side once we have walked through the difficulty?
Pride and Stubbornness.
Stubbornness leads us to make choices that don’t really make rational sense…but it’s based on what we want now, not what makes the most sense or brings us a greater good in the future. And stubbornness is really just a symptom of being prideful. So it comes down to be prideful enough to not be willing to try something that might hurt in the moment, even if what comes after is better. Pride leads us to only focus on what we want for our self now, not what is best for us in the future or what God wants to do in our lives beyond this moment.
When you look at it rationally, it really doesn’t make much sense…just like my daughter not taking her medicine. Sure, she avoids the bad taste, and we avoid the momentary pain and suffering of dealing with issues and difficult circumstances…but she has to stay sick longer because of her choice, and we end up struggling longer and hurting our self more because of our choice.
Don’t allow pride and stubbornness to overcome your actions. If you have issues to deal with, then deal with them head on. If you are in a difficult life circumstance, then walk through it. Trust God that he has a plan, and know that no growth comes without some pain and suffering. The other side, beyond this momentary pain and suffering, is so much better. So put away pride and stubbornness, and think beyond the moment…think about the bigger picture…think rationally.
May we be willing to accept and take the medicine when we need it.