The Bigger Picture of Our Pain

This past Sunday I gave a message entitled “Hope In God”.  You can listen to the podcast HERE.  We looked at Psalms 42-43 and discussed the battle David had in his heart between the deep sorrow he felt over his circumstances and the encouragement he received in the promise of God.

When tough trials hit your life, do you find yourself being discouraged by them, or do you find hope in the midst of them?  Sometimes it’s quite difficult to find any good that could possibly come from your situation, isn’t it?

Consider Job, and allow me to take you on a quick journey through the Scriptures in order to see the bigger picture of our pain.  If you’re not familiar with Job, he was a man of God whom God gave Satan permission to test by putting Job through terrible pain.  Job lost his possessions, his family, and his health, and yet he never turned away from God because of it.  He told God how he felt on more than one occasion, but he never stopped hoping in God.  Job 13:15 – “Though he slay me, I will hope in him; yet I will argue my ways to his face.”

Even in the face of death itself, we can have hope in God.  Psalm 23:4 – “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”  Proverbs 14:32 – “The wicked is overthrown through his evildoing, but the righteous finds refuge in his death.”  Death, the ultimate pain in this life, has no hold on the believer in the life to come.  And so we hope in God even to the very point of losing our own lives because we find refuge and comfort in the One who is with us through it all and who will bring us through it all.  2 Timothy 4:18 – “The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed and bring me safely into his heavenly kingdom.  To him be the glory forever and ever.  Amen.”  Psalm 121:7 – “The Lord will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life.”

Nothing happened to Job that God didn’t know about and approve of.  And nothing happens in your life that God doesn’t know about and approve of.  You may need to pause and reread that last sentence…

God approves of our pain?  Yes, and sometimes He’s the author of it (see the book of Hosea).  But He never wastes a hurt.  Instead, God uses everything in our lives to reveal Himself to us.  Romans 11:36 – “For from him and through him and to him are all things.  To him be glory forever.  Amen.”  1 Corinthians 8:6 – “yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist.”  Colossians 1:16 – “For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him.”

By Him.  Through Him.  For Him.

See, if we step back long enough to focus on the bigger picture of our pain, it will always lead us to Jesus.  Nothing we will ever go through is more than He has already endured for us.  If we narrow our focus so that only our circumstances are in view, then we will grow weary and fainthearted.  But, if we fix our eyes on Him, and remember that though He may sometimes be the author of our pain He is always the author and perfecter of our faith, then we can remain faithful in the midst of life’s toughest trials.  And that faithfulness results in joy for us and glory for Him.

Hebrews 12:2-3 “2 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.  3 Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.”

Job 1:21 – “The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.”

To God be the glory.