17 March 2009

Where's God when you're hurting?

Suffering can be defined as "the bearing of pain, distress, and affliction".  I believe loneliness and loss fall into their own category under suffering.  Loss tends to make us feel like we are out of control; the circumstances and choices we make and endure are not what we would normally choose for ourselves.  Loss can not only cover people, but pets, relationships, jobs (or finances), and passions.  No one blatantly chooses these things!  Yet these losses affect our reasoning and future choices.  They affect our relationships.  They cut to the core of our very being.  They remind us of pain and times that we don't want to experience.  But God uses these losses for His greater purposes... to draw us closer to Him, to help others in times of need, and more importantly to reveal His love for us (if our eyes are open and willing to see Him).  

Why is there suffering and pain in our lives?
  • God does some of His greatest work in the dark 
Creation (Gen. 1:1-2)
  • Deliverance
    Exodus (Ex. 12:31)
  • Guidance (gives us His law)
   10 Commandments (Ex. 20:21)
  • Christ's death
   Crucifixion (Matt. 27:45)
  • Christ returns
 "...like a thief in the night" (1 Thes. 5:2)  

We are to be thanking God for our pain!  Doesn't that sound absurd?  God is shaping our hearts in this pain... it's His way of protecting us!  And as much as we might wish we were dead, this pain, very much tells us we are indeed alive!

If we look at David (1 Sam. 30), we see that a young David has just been anointed king and Saul (the former king) is trying to kill him (jealous?).  We learn these things listed below that David faced:

  1. David had just lost his previous job.
  2. He came back home to find out that his wife and children were kidnapped.
  3. He lost his home.
  4. His men (an army - 600) abandoned him.
  5. He was being hunted and about to lose his own life.
  6. He was greatly distressed.
But David persevered, he didn't give up.  He strengthened himself in the LORD.  We are called to do the same, to follow his lead.  How do we do this?  We do this through prayer, wait on His direction, recall the accomplishments of God's handiwork in our lives, we must seek counsel, and believe His promises to us! 

It's so easy to isolate ourselves; try to work through the pain on our own!  But this is the time we need Him the most!  We aren't called to be alone!  We are made to be relational!  We need Him and His people in our lives to pray for us, to encourage us, to get us to the "next" thing.  Sometimes we wait and the answers don't come.  What then?

"Be still and know that I am God." - Psalm 46:10

I know it's in my very nature to want to control things, but do I really have any control?  I need to drop the mentality that I have to control things.  I also need to realize that I'm not asked to carry my own burdens but to give them over to God.  Easier said than done, I realize!  Something that I need to ask God to help me do...

I take joy in knowing Jeremiah 29:11 is relevant in my life and the lives of everyone, everywhere! 

"For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans to prosper and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future".
My pain is not meant to hurt me, not that it doesn't hurt me (because it definitely does), but it's meant for a greater purpose in my life (the same is true for you)!

1 comment:

  1. This post sounds like that Larry Crabb book I read and loved-Shattered Dreams. I wonder if the pain of the effects of sin shows up in our lives to better show the perfection, glory, peace, joy, righteousness, and comfort that is found in God? There is quite a difference between our finite lives here, and the infinite God. For myself, I find myself drawn to God for the very reason that He is everything I cannot be, and He has made a way for me to enter His presence despite the pain and flaws I have in this fallen world.