They returned to Lystra and to Iconium and to Antioch, strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying that through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God. Acts 14:21-22
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:
The salvation story of Jesus Christ reaches around the world. So that the readers of our Daily Devotion may see the power of the Savior on a global scale, we have asked the volunteers of our International Ministry Centers to write our Friday devotions. We pray that the Spirit may touch your day through their words.
In Christ, I remain, His servant and yours,
Kenneth R. Klaus
Speaker Emeritus of The Lutheran Hour
Today, as in the past, people are living and suffering with different kinds of pain.
You know the list: there is physical, mental and spiritual pain. Pain can make people cry and hurt; it can make them feel sad, exhaust them, and make them angry. No one wants pain, but we cannot escape it. It is part of the sinful human tragedy that we are born in pain, and we shall die in pain.
I must confess I also have pains in my life. Depending on the day and moment I am pained by family, health and finances. Goodness, the list goes on and on. I have noticed when I am in pain, I often go to God and hear myself challenge: "Why did You give this particular pain to me? Are You there when I am in pain? Are You happy to see I am in pain?"
I'm not proud I've asked those questions. I'm not pleased I don't always understand what the Lord is trying to convey. I'm a weak sinner, and I must confess that enough pain can almost make a person lose his mind and, even worse, their trust and faith in God.
Oh, I forgot one thing: when I'm in pain, I never want to blame myself. I always want to place the blame for the problems on others.
At least that's the way it used to be.
Then, one day I was changed. That day I read an article about a girl who was born without the capacity to feel pain. She grew up without knowing pain. She didn't know the things which were bad and dangerous for her. Without pain it was easy for her to seriously cut her hand. Without pain she hardly noticed when boiling water scalded her body. All these incidents left her scarred and led her to contemplate suicide.
At the end of the article the author concluded that pain is a friend. Through pain we learn what is good for us and what is bad.
Spiritually, the same is true. Without pain we cannot know what is eternally dangerous to us. To help us grow and learn, God allows pain to come. It is His way of shielding us from something which could be far worse. As M. Scott Peck said, "Pain is a phenomenon of grace, a gift of God, a message to initiate self-examination and repair."
There's one other thing which must be said: God never leaves us alone in this pain. He always is with us and making sure that pain is constructive and not overwhelming. In this way He teaches us and gives us those blessings that can draw a believing heart closer to Him.
It is my hope you understand what I've been trying to say. I hope you will also, like Job, learn to know all the pains that God allows are blessings to help us endure. They are blessings which, in God's good time, will prove to be beneficial.
And that, my friends, is the promise of 2 Corinthians 12:9, where the Lord says because of My Son's sacrifice, "My grace is sufficient for you."
THE PRAYER: Our Heavenly Father, only through faith can we thank You for pains in our lives. These make us strong, mature us, and increase our trust and faith in You. And, dear Lord, if I doubt, grant me a faith to always believe Your ways are right -- and from a loving Lord. In the Name of Jesus I ask it. Amen.
Biography of Author: Today's international devotion was written by Myo Aundra Maw, who is the program supervisor for Word of Hope, Lutheran Hour Ministries' office in Myanmar. From its ministry center in Yangon, Word of Hope connects with people in this Southeast Asian country of more than 60 million people through radio programs, video and print materials, music and puppet performances, film showings, children's ministries, and more. Using Bible Correspondence Courses (BCC) and Equipping the Saints (ETS) resources, the Gospel has gone forth since LHM first established its presence there in 1999.
To learn more about our International Ministries, click here or visit www.lhmint.org.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries