Don’t Stuff the Pain

Psalm 119:25-28 ESV

“My soul clings to the dust;
give me life according to your word!
When I told of my ways, you answered me;
teach me your statutes!
Make me understand the way of your precepts,
and I will meditate on your wondrous works.
My soul melts away for sorrow;
strengthen me according to your word!”

I don’t know of any human being who has not suffered something in this life. We get hurt. We fall down. We bleed. We get sick. We cry, or we need to cry. Some are abused. Some of them severely. People reject and betray us. We are lied to and cheated on. We get falsely accused. And, the list goes on.

Jesus’ Suffering for Us

So just know that Jesus was and is despised and rejected of men, too. He was a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. He bore our griefs and he carried our sorrows when he died on that cross for our sins (Is. 53:3-4).

And, He who knew no sin became sin for us that we might become the righteousness of God (2 Co. 5:21). So, he cares, and he is there to help us.

Jesus was falsely accused, harassed, and had many attempts made against him to try to trip him up with his words so that his accusers could discredit him. He was called of Satan, and he was called crazy, even by his family members. And, he was called a liar, too, for claiming he was God.

When he knew it was his time to go to the cross, his flesh battled with that. His soul was very sorrowful, even to death. He prayed to God the Father, “If it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will” (Matt. 26:38-39).

Our Suffering and its Purpose

Paul was given a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan, to harass him, to keep him from becoming conceited. God allowed this for that purpose. Three times he pleaded with the Lord to have it leave him. But the Lord said, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (See: 2 Co. 12:7-10).

His thorn was not sin, though. The Lord would not put (allow, permit) sin in his life to keep him from becoming conceited. The Lord would also not refuse to remove sin from his life, nor would he tell him that his grace would sustain him in his sin, if the thorn was sin, which it was clearly not.

Also, Paul and his fellow workers in the ministry of the gospel were so deeply afflicted at one point that they were utterly burdened beyond their strength so that they despaired of life itself (2 Co. 1:8).

And, the Scriptures teach that we are called of God to share in the fellowship of his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and that suffering produces endurance, character, and hope, and that the testing of our faith produces steadfastness, that we might become mature. And, we learn that affliction in our lives teaches us to rely not on ourselves, but on God.

We also learn that we are to rejoice in our sufferings, and that we must be willing to endure the loss of all things in order that we might gain Christ, that we were destined for suffering, and that suffering teaches us compassion for others who are suffering, so that we may comfort them.

We also learn that discipline is for our good, that we might share in God’s holiness, and that it may yield the peaceful fruit of righteousness in those who have been trained by that discipline. And, we learn, too, that we are heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.

[Ro. 5:3-5; Phil. 3:7-11; 1 Pet. 1:6-7; 1 Pet. 4:12-17; Jas. 1:2-4; Matt. 5:10-12; Lu. 21:12-19; 2 Co. 1:3-11; Heb. 12:3-12; Rom. 8:17; Rev. 2-3]

Our Cries to God

When we go through times of suffering in our lives, and particularly if we are overcome with sorrow, we need to cry our pain and our sorrow out to the Lord in prayer.

We need to tell him what is going on in our lives and in our hearts, not because he doesn’t know, but because we need to present our requests to him. We need this to draw close to him, in dependency on him. And, we must not stuff the pain inside, but we must release it.

We need to pray for God to heal us, to teach us what we need to learn through our suffering, to mature us through it, and to teach us more how to love others with Christ’s love because of what we have had to endure.

God allows suffering in our lives for many reasons, but one of them is to draw us closer to himself in submission to his will for our lives and in obedience to his instructions to us, his saints.

So, when we suffer, and we pour our hearts out to God, we must yield our lives to his sovereignty, and we must obey his commands. We must ask for increased understanding of his will for us and for direction in what to do when and where, so that we are walking in his will doing what he says.

Allow God to change you through your trials. Let him mature you in your walks of faith. Commit your way to him. Increase your time of prayer and Bible study. Be deliberate, too, about sharing your faith with others, and about encouraging other Christians in their walks of obedience to Christ, too.

Know Jesus cares about you and what you are going through. Let him comfort you with his love and counsel. And, then be an encourager to others and show them Jesus, too, for there are many hurting people in this world, and we all need Jesus to save us from our sins and to heal all our wounds.

No, Not One!

Hymn lyrics by Johnson Oatman, Jr., 1895
Music by George C. Hugg, 1895

There’s not a friend like the lowly Jesus,
No, not one! No, not one!
None else could heal all our soul’s diseases,
No, not one! No, not one!

No friend like Him is so high and holy,
No, not one! No, not one!
And yet no friend is so meek and lowly,
No, not one! No, not one!

There’s not an hour that He is not near us,
No, not one! No, not one!
No night so dark but His love can cheer us,
No, not one! No, not one!

Did ever saint find this Friend forsake him?
No, not one! No, not one!
Or sinner find that He would not take him?
No, not one! No, not one!

Jesus knows all about our struggles,
He will guide till the day is done;
There’s not a friend like the lowly Jesus,
No, not one! No, not one!

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7 thoughts on “Don’t Stuff the Pain

  1. Good point about the “thorn” not being sin. I know there are different theories about what that thorn was, one of them being Paul’s problems with his eyesight. I had seen for a long time how Pauls’ imprisonment caused nearly 1/3 of the New Testament to be written. (Otherwise, Paul would have just continued traveling and preaching.) But recently it occurred to me that the “thorn” of bad eyesight had its purpose, too. It meant that he not only had to have his messages written (for our sake), but they also had to be DICTATED, so the Roman soldiers who were with him constantly heard the messages, too! (See Philippians 1:12-13)

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you, Annie. Praise Jesus! Yes, I have heard people say that the thorn is sin, but it is completely illogical and contrary to the teachings of Scripture when you look at what that would mean if it was sin. And, Paul could not have had the ministry he had and say the things he said if he had some sin in his life.

      Yes, I believe it was some kind of physical ailment, or Satan just attacking him in his mind and him having to fight off Satan, or it could have been all the persecutions.

      What you shared about the purpose of it all, though, was really good. Yes, God uses situations in our lives we think are for bad and he uses them for good. We never know how God might use something in our lives to minister to others. So, thank you! Very excellent!

      Like

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