"There's more to come: We continue to shout our praise even when we're hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next. In alert expectancy such as this, we're never left feeling shortchanged. Quite the contrary—we can't round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit!" Romans 5:3-5 (The Message)
In our family, from time to time, we find ourselves conversing on the topic of pain.
Such was the case one day on a drive across the city. My two youngest sons were with me and we were talking about how difficult it has been for a couple of families we know. The first had experienced the death of a child. The second was reeling from severe disabilities after a childhood illness, financial bankruptcy, and marital discord
I was taken aback when middle son Andy, then seven, passionately blurted out,
"I've had stomachaches. I've had skinned elbows. I've had bruised knees. I know what pain is!"
He was totally sincere in expressing his feelings on the subject. I turned away so he wouldn't see the smile on my face. My mother heart wished that would be the extent of pain in his life, but I know it won't be.
Suffering is part of the human experience.
It's a given. Pain will come. We live in a fallen world. Bad things happen to good people. When it happens to me, my emotions may say otherwise, but this I know to be true:
- God loves me.
- My question must change from, "If You are loving, God, why did You let this happen?" TO
- "You are a loving, God. What good are You going to bring out of this situation?"
- God loves me. I don't have to understand His ways; I don't have to like the path He chooses for me to walk.
- I can trust Him to allow what is for my good. "When you can't trace His plan, trust His heart."
- God loves me. Every challenge is an opportunity for growth.
Prayer: "You love me. This is hard. Thank You for walking this journey with me. Settle my heart with Your presence. Draw me close to You."