PAIN AS A PLOTLINE
It [righteousness] will be counted to us who believe in him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord, who was delivered up for our trespasses, and raised for our justification. Romans 4:23-25
Who delivered up Jesus to be crucified? Was it the Jews? Was it Pilate? The shocking answer is that God did! God delivered up His Son and then raised Him from the dead as a sign that Jesus’ sacrifice was accepted by Him as payment for man’s sin. He who did not spare his own son but gave him up for us all… Romans 8:32
Pain is a powerful plotline in my story. It was never meant to be meaningless or wasted. While in the grip of painful times, I can feel like it’s all for nothing. Doesn’t pain just crush its victims and that’s the end of the story? No! God always meant for my suffering to be redemptive. It has great purpose and meaning for me if I’m God’s child but only when I cooperate with God to see redemptive things happen.
How can suffering be a good thing, something God can redeem? If I am willing to be shaped by God into the likeness of Jesus, it can:
- Bring me to the end of myself and turn my heart toward God.
- Cause me to see that Satan is one who seeks to kill and destroy. Like Jesus, through prayer, I take up my role as soldier to destroy the works of the devil.
- Teach me to learn ‘praying without ceasing’ so that I can depend on God moment by moment.
- Train me to know, trust, and cling to God’s promises so that God can bring beauty out of ashes.
- Direct me to the point of suffering ~ to bring glory to God no matter my circumstances.
Jesus never got lost in pain’s storyline. He never saw it as an end unto itself. He knew that all his suffering was leading to the cross, that place of ultimate redemption. Because He died, sin and suffering need never win in my life. They are temporary.
Because He rose from the dead, victory awaits me. In the meantime, as I take joy in the hope of eternity, God is glorified even in my tears.
Don’t let pain shut me down. Remind me that I can do a lot while I suffer. I actively seek you, Your Word, and lifestyle of prayer. Amen