Romans 8:18 (KJV) “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”
Last week we ended with …
There is always a “Promise” in the “Pain” God ordains and/or allows…
Psalm 30:5 (KJV) “For his anger endureth but a moment; in his favour is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.”
“God redeems everything He allows!” I do not know who first made this statement, but I’m in agreement with it. To better understand this statement, we must consider that God did NOT ordain that sin would enter this world, BUT He certainly made the provision to redeem us! With this thought, “God redeems everything He allows” in mind, it is important to believe that God will redeem all pain that He “allows!” I love that God wastes nothing!
Let me share some general thoughts concerning pain …
Immunity – No one is immune from pain – it is a common human experience.
Pain is real for a man who is shot by a random drive-by shooting as he leaves his place of work. Because of his injury that becomes long-term, he lost his job. His financial situation becomes most overburdened; therefore, he had to sell his house, furnishings, and automobile to pay his bills. Today, he finds himself standing at the bus stand begging for bus fare.
Pain is real for the wife whose husband informs her he does not want to be married to her anymore. Not only is she pained with the heaviness of guilt, but the pain becomes unbearable when he says, “I should not have married you in the first place. I never loved you!”
Pain is real for the person who is mentally challenged. The one person who showed love and care just died as a result of cancer. As you stand near, you hear, “I just can’t stop crying!”
None of these people “deserved” to be in pain, but they experienced it nonetheless! No one is immune from experiencing pain.
Inclusivity – Pain is pervasive.
There are many forms of pain (i.e. physical, spiritual, and emotional), and ALL forms are equally intense.
There is a human myth promulgated to the masses – “Happiness = the absence of pain!” Nothing could be further from the truth! Because God redeems all that He allows, pain can have a very positive effect upon each of us. Someone said, “When we cut ourselves off from pain, we have unwittingly cut ourselves off from joy as well.”
As I experienced “life” in the “light” of Scripture, I’ve learned that Pain produces …
Experiencing pain in life most often prepares individuals for a more productive and meaningful relationship with God. While we may wrestle with this statement, we must take a close look at what David wrote …
Psalm 51:17 (KJV) “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise” (Emphasis Added).
Now, I stipulate that just because an individual’s heart experiences the depth of hurt that is deeply painful will not necessarily prepare him for a meaningful relationship with God; however, most people who experience deep, hurtful emotional heart-pain, will look for any means possible to alleviate, and/or, remove such pain!
You may recall that the Tin Man in the “Wizard of Oz” said, “Hearts will never be practical until they are made unbreakable.” The truth is hearts that are “breakable” are most pleasant and practical.
Apostle Paul was caustically zealous in persecuting the early Christians immediately after the Crucifixion, Burial, Resurrection, and Ascension of Jesus Christ! Before his encounter with Jesus on the Damascus Road, it was apparent that his heart was hardened towards the Christian philosophy and practice. There was NO “brokenness” in his demeanor or emotions! BUT …
2 Corinthians 12:8-10 (KJV) “For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore, I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong” (Emphasis Added).
As I review what Paul wrote, I notice that his “brokenness” compelled him to look to the Lord for support and strength. In Paul’s pain, God was preparing him for a deeper relationship with Christ and making him more productive in spiritual fruit. You see, the “Breaking in Pain” becomes the scorching crucible that promotes spiritual consecration. God uses the “Promise of Pain” to produce the Consecration of Christ within us.
Let us consider the following list of Biblical characters that God used His scorching crucible to promote spiritual consecration …
- Abraham (Genesis 22) – God used the crucible of a “Sacrificial Altar” from which to promote the consecration wherein He would multiply Abraham’s posterity and enlarge his influence.
- Jacob (Genesis 32) – God used the crucible of a “Wrestling Match” from which to promote the consecration wherein He would give Jacob a new name, a new walk, and a new purpose.
- Moses (Exodus 3) – God used the crucible of a “Desert” from which to promote the consecration wherein He would send His deliverer to “set His people free.” Moses would become a friend of God to whom He spoke face-to-face.
- Elijah (1 Kings 19) – God used the crucible of a “Wicked Queen” from which to promote the consecration wherein He would draw him to within a distance of a “Still, Small Voice,” prepare him for a miraculous translation, and reveal his successor.
- Paul (2 Corinthians 12) – God used the crucible of a “Thorn in the Flesh” from which to promote the consecration wherein He would speak through Paul in such volume that his writings would compose 13 Books of the New Testament.
- Jesus (Matthew 26) – God used the crucible of a “Garden” from which to promote the consecration wherein He would exalt Jesus Christ through Whom He would save lost humanity. While Adam succumbed in a “Garden,” Jesus succeeded!