Acts 14:21-22 - 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.
Pain makes us hurt and cry; it makes us sad, exhausts us, and can anger us. No one wants pain, but we cannot escape it. It's part of the sinful human tragedy we're all are born into.
I must confess I too have pains in my life. I am pained by family, health, and finances. I have noticed when I am in pain, I often go to God and sometimes hear myself challenging Him: "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 to ask these questions. I'm not pleased when I don't understand what the Lord is trying to convey. Sadly, too, when I'm in pain, I never want to blame myself. Instead, I want to place the blame for the problems on others.
At least that's the way it used to be.
Then, one day, I read an article about a girl born without the capacity to feel pain. She didn't know how certain things could be bad or dangerous for her. Without pain, it was easy for her to cut her hands. Without pain, she hardly noticed when boiling water scalded her body. Incidents like these left her scarred and contemplating suicide.
At the end of the article, the author concluded that pain is a "friend" of sorts—like a wake-up call to warn us. Through pain we learn what is good and bad for us.
Spiritually, the same is true. Without pain, we can't really know what is eternally dangerous to us. To help us grow and learn, God may allow pains or discomforts to come. It's His way of shielding us from something that could be far worse.
There's one other thing which must be said: God never leaves us alone in this pain. He is always with us, making sure that pain is constructive and not overwhelming. In this way, He teaches us and gives us those blessings that come from a faith that leans on Him.
The apostle Paul knew this well. "... a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But He said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong" (2 Corinthians 12:7-10).
May we all have a faith that trusts in God through the difficult and painful times of our lives.
THE PRAYER: Heavenly Father, grant me faith to trust in Your caring ways in my life. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Myo Aundra Maw, a member of LHM's field staff in Myanmar.
1. Do you deal with any sort of chronic pain in your life? How do you manage it?
2. When you hear of possible trials or tribulations coming your way, do you typically lean on God more, or less?
3. How might a discomfort or problem help draw us closer to God?
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