Trusting God in the Mist of Suffering
According to Webster pain is mental or emotional suffering or torment. Looking at the lives of Gods anointed requires us to see pain in a different light. We live in a day and age that teaches a theology that communicates pain is not of God and that He wants us free from suffering. We have heard things like “come to God and all your suffering will go away or healing and happiness is of the Lord. “What if I told you that this is not biblical or theologically correct? I have learned by examining Job, Paul and countless others that the devil is not always responsible for pain.
According to Charles L. Swindoll, Baptist Theologian, “we may be surprised to know that there are times when pain and suffering comes as Gods sovereign plan to prepare us as useful servants.” THERE IS A NEED TODAY FOR CHRISTIANS TO UNDERSTAND SUFFERING FROM GOD’S PERSPECTIVE. We are now in a generation that has an addiction to constant comfort and happiness, thinking that this is the mere purpose of life and having an inadequate view of suffering. My desire in writing this blog is to help equip for the pain and suffering that will inevitably come your way now or in the future. Some us, as we read, are dealing with the pressures of life, a disease, a lost of loved one, emotional pains, or pains I cant even imagine. I hope this allows you to see that God is always working in the mist of pain and uncomfortableness.
Examining the book Corinthians helps us see the Paul’s pain and the depth of his emotions. Look at the Apostle Paul’s pain in the scriptures below:
We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body. 2 Corinthians 4:8-11
Rather, as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: in great endurance; in troubles, hardships and distresses; in beatings, imprisonments and riots; in hard work, sleepless nights and hunger. 2 Corinthians 6:4-5
Are they servants of Christ? (I am out of my mind to talk like this.) I am more. I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again. Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was pelted with stones, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my fellow Jews, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false believers. I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked. 2 Corinthians 11:23-27
Talk about pain right? You see, His pain did not hinder Paul because he understood pain proceeds purpose. When we are able to see pain in light of its purpose, it begins to shape our understanding and joy in the mist of it. There is purpose in pain. Pain allows us to comfort others that encounter similar pains and situations. What blows my mind is the fact that the man that wrote the majority of the New Testament experienced so much pain and even at one point despaired of life. He experienced so much suffering and pain that he did not want to live. It literally drove him into depression and he wasn’t sure if he was going to make it through. The same type we must endure at one pint or another.
2 Corinthians 1:8-11- We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about the troubles we experienced in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us again. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us….
In the mist of his suffering, Paul did not give up or give in because he understood the need to trust in God in times of hardship. Even in the mist of depression, God still held him together. We see from the testimonies and the writings of Paul that we are all afflicted, persecuted, crushed, and struck down. We must learn (like Paul) to glory in the suffering, without holding any anger toward God or blaming Satan.
I get it, it’s hard. We must always trust God and stay faithful in our times of hardships because in our weakness He is made strong and His grace is sufficient. Paul had to live with a thorn that God wouldn’t take away. Sometimes God allows pain to develop us into what He has called us to be and other times he uses affliction to keep us on our knees. No matter the reasoning for pain and affliction we must stay faithful, trusting God.