I have a beef with God. Yes, I think he is cool with me saying that out loud. In fact, I believe He loves it when his followers verbally articulate a smidge of heresy/doubt or play around with certain paradigms. It’s healthy, not dangerous. 

Let’s come back to this in a bit.

My youngest son, Joel, was born in a gym. Not literally, but he should have been. He was consecrated with DNA that the Good Lord did not see fit to bestow upon me. Possibly he has some sort of chromosomal abnormality--or maybe blessed by the gymnasium gods. Whatever the case, he likes to go to the weight room—and it shows. It seems easy for him to lift a stupid amount of metal plates embossed with cool-sounding names.

So, of course, the day came when he wanted to take daddio to the weight room because I will “like it” as much as he does. So, I go. He is a personal trainer and has a zillion promptings detailing how to lift iron the precise way. Here’s the kicker…all of his little tweaks and suggestions cause me pain. “Keep your elbows by your side.” “Hold it there until you feel the burn.” “Today, we are going to lift until your muscles shred.” “This is going to hurt.” 


Feel the burn. Pain. Discomfort. Shredding muscles. Geesh, I don’t like the sound of shredding anything. Unless it’s cheese. I like shredded cheese. 

And this brings me to my beef with God. I’ve mentioned this to Him many times. WHY in His name do so many things have to involve pain? Burn? Shhhrrreeding? 

Cancer. Starvation. War in Ukraine. Parent’s disapproval. Wrecked relationships. Divorce. Marathons. Weight loss programs. Success at work. Child trafficking. A meaningful marriage. Financial generosity with marginalized people. Standing up for justice. Taking a stand when others don’t quite see it your way. Knowing when to break the rules—and when to keep them.

Seems like most meaningful things come with a throbbing price tag—pain, burn, shred. You know that. I’m just reminding you of what you already know. 

I guess we have to assume that God knows what he is doing. He did create a crazy number of galaxies. So….

Now, let’s hit life’s gym with optimism and joy—but know that a healthy life path/pilgrimage will mean pain and sometimes not understanding God’s thinking. Shredding of our spiritual and emotional muscles is necessary to build mass. Not as fun as eating caramel-pretzel ice cream, but ultimately, we will like the person looking at us in the mirror. 

For extra credit, check out Romans 8:18. Good stuff.
To respond to any The Pilgrimage devotional, you can e-mail me directly at matt@forgottenchildren.org.
Forgotten Children Worldwide | About Us