For Jenny



“For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory”

2 Corinthians 4:17  



As I listened to a very dear and sweet friend of my wife and I yesterday she was sharing with me about her son’s spiritual journey. As I drove away the Lord brought to my mind what my life was like when I was her sons age. I thought back in my own life to what I am certain her son is going to come to know in his own life in the not so distant future. Never underestimate the power of a praying Mom. What I leaned many years ago and what I hope my friends son comes to know and that you know today too is, “I didn’t realize Jesus was rock solid until I hit rock bottom” and “I didn’t realize Jesus was all I needed until Jesus was all I had”. Every child of God who has experienced pain and suffering in this life knows from personal experience that these statements are true, both painfully and joyfully true!

Author and theologian C.S. Lewis captured my thought regarding pain and suffering better than I can communicate it myself when he penned these words, “God whispers to us in our pleasures and shouts to us in our pain. Pain is God’s megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” I have always had this sense that pain and suffering are not always a curse, but sometimes God’s blessings in disguise. Singer songwriter Laura Story sang those words in her hit song, “Blessings” that have brought me and countless others tremendous comfort. The song goes like this:


"Blessings"

We pray for blessings, we pray for peace
Comfort for family, protection while we sleep
We pray for healing, for prosperity
We pray for Your mighty hand to ease our suffering
And all the while, You hear each spoken need
Yet love us way too much to give us lesser things

'Cause what if your blessings come through rain drops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You're near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

We pray for wisdom, Your voice to hear
We cry in anger when we cannot feel You near
We doubt your goodness, we doubt your love
As if every promise from Your word is not enough
And all the while, You hear each desperate plea
And long that we'd have faith to believe

'Cause what if your blessings come through rain drops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You're near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

When friends betray us
When darkness seems to win
We know that pain reminds this heart
That this is not,
This is not our home
It's not our home

'Cause what if your blessings come through rain drops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You're near

What if my greatest disappointments or the aching of this life
Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can't satisfy
What if trials of this life
The rain, the storms, the hardest nights
Are your mercies in disguise (song ends)

I am convinced the song is true and not just from personal experience. More important than our experiences in determining truth is the Word of God. Like the old saying, “if God says it, that settles it.” God has much to say about how He uses pain and suffering to shape us and to draw us into a deeper more robust relationship with Jesus. Whenever I am going through a trial or dealing with pain and suffering, like it or not, the Holy Spirit always takes me back to Romans 8:28 (NKJV) “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.”

The Bible in no way says, “all things are good” but rather that, “all things work together for good” and that is a huge difference, like night and day between the two. What that says to me is with God there are no coincidences as He is the God of divine providence. Because God is God with omnipotent power He is capable of using anything and everything we encounter in this life for His ultimate glory and our good, including pain and suffering. You might say, God never wastes a hurt

Are you going through a trial that includes pain and suffering? If so, please know that you are not alone. Consider these Bible hero’s who God didn’t deliver from their problems, or their pain and suffering but chose instead to deliver them through the pain and suffering of the trial they were thrust into. God could have kept Joseph out of jail, and He could have kept Daniel out of the lion’s den, or the three Hebrew young boys from being thrown into a fiery furnace. God could have kept Jeremiah from being tossed into a mire pit, or the apostle Paul from being shipwrecked more than once, and yet in all these cases He didn’t.

God allowed all these trials and many others throughout scripture to happen in the lives of His chosen ones, and because He did each one was drawn into closer relationship with God as the result. The trials which we each have had to face often times literally force us to look to God and depend on Him alone instead of ourselves. The apostle Paul testified to this fact in 2 Corinthians 1:9 when he wrote, “Yes, we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves but in God who raises the dead.” Letting go and letting God is never easy but its always good!
 
Let God use the pain, the trials of life to draw you to Himself. Don’t allow the hurts, the pain and suffering, we all experience in this life to varying degrees to push you away from the very One who Himself provides the cure and comfort for all our woes. Listen to the words of James, the half brother of Jesus who reminds us today…

“My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing”

James 1:2-4

I LOVE YOU!

Michael Osthimer

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