All the people of the land went to the temple of Baal and tore it down. (2 Kings 11:18)

THE SURGEON STOOD AT my hospital bed and said, “I hear you’ve been having trouble lifting that leg.” Having undergone a joint replacement surgery the day before, I didn’t think that was too unusual. “We’ll see about that,” he said, and lifted my leg to a 45 degree angle. “When I let go, you lower your leg to the bed.”

Before I could say, “Are you crazy?” he dropped my leg to the mat. Pain shot through my body and escaped my mouth in a guttural wail.

“Once more,” he said, and did it again. And again. And again. After a time or two, I engaged those severed muscles and weakly lowered my throbbing limb to the bed. My doctor understood that without therapy I might never regain full use of my limb. He wasn’t afraid to inflict a little pain to get a good result.

Joash felt the same. He was willing to break a few political, cultural, and religious eggs to make the omelet of holiness. Temples were destroyed. Idols crashed to the ground. Sadly, people even lost their lives. The young king realized that if his subjects didn’t engage the atrophied muscle of faith early on, they might lose it forever.

Is it possible that you are avoiding a spiritual commitment that would draw you close to Jesus but cause short-term discomfort? Remember, no pain, no gain.

Ask God for the courage to do what you know you must.

Lawrence W. Wilson is the author of A Different Kind of Crazy (WPH) and coauthor of The Long Road Home (WPH). He lives in central Indiana and blogs at

© 2018 Wesleyan Publishing House. Reprinted from Light from the Word. Used by permission.