The beauty remains, the pain passes. This was the answer given by the famous painter Auguste Renoir, who was crippled with arthritis, when he was asked, “Why do you continue to paint when you are in such agony?”
If we only do what we feel like doing in life, we won’t do much that is worthwhile. Renoir continued to paint even though each stroke was excruciatingly painful. He is remembered, not for the pain which he endured, but for the paintings he created.
So it is with us. We may not be able to create beauty with a paint brush, but each of us can do what we can with what we have right where we are to make life a little more bearable for others. Certainly our Lord did not want to die. The pain passed, but the beauty of his life of sacrifice remains.
Paul explains, “We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let every one of us please his neighbor for his good to edification. For even Christ pleased not himself; but, as it is written, The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me.”
Our Lord rose early in the morning to pray while others slept. He stayed up late at night to receive Nicodemus who was ashamed to be seen with Jesus in the daytime. Jesus constantly put himself out for others. He had compassion on the multitude and fed them, yet when he was starving after not having eaten for 40 days, he refused to perform a miracle to feed himself.
Jesus suffered like none of us have ever suffered, but he kept right on serving even when he was exhausted. His own family tried to come and take him by force on one occasion because they thought he was mad.
Paul says, “None of you should think of his own affairs, but should learn to see things from other people’s point of view.” He goes on to lament, “I have nobody else [other than Timothy] with a genuine interest in your well-being. All the others seem to be wrapped up in their own affairs and do not really care for the business of Jesus Christ.”
How often have we allowed our aches and pains to keep us from serving the needs of others? It does not stop the mother who sits up all night with a sick child. She is not thinking of her own comfort even through she may be ill herself. She sacrifices her own needs to care for her baby. Her pain and discomfort passes, but thanks to her care, the little one recovers.
Jesus gave his life for us. Paul said he was willing to spend and be spent for his brethren. Timothy took a genuine interest in others by focusing on their needs rather than his own. Jesus, Paul and Timothy ignored their own pain to serve others. They knew that “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.” The pain passes but the beauty remains.
Let us make sure that our aches and pains do not prevent us from serving our Lord who “for the joy that was set before him endured the cross and despised the pain and is now set down on the right hand of the throne of God.” His pain is over but his joy is everlasting. So it will be with us also if we will try to forget our own discomforts and serve the Lord with all our being.
Robert J. Lloyd