Reaching for the Rope
Finding God in the Fog of Pain Part 4
Making Your Life Mirror – Reaching for the Rope
Pain is the worst possible houseguest. It shows up unannounced and doesn’t even bother to knock. It demands all your attention while it visits and far overstays its welcome.
Multiple surgeries, hospitalizations, and two illnesses that nearly took my life have left me no stranger to the danger of pain. Here’s something I’ve come to realize (and not easily I might add): Pain is a gift.
It’s God’s “built in alarm system” that tells us something is wrong. The inability to feel pain can result in disastrous injuries. However, when the pain of physical adversity, mental anguish or emotional turmoil wields its power like a cruel dictator, the last thing we tend to say is, “Thank you God for this gift.” Let’s be honest. NO ONE likes pain.
Pain can be a tyrant or a teacher, a thief or a tool. The choice is ours.
Pain can make us:
- bitter or better
- sensitive to others’ needs or self absorbed
- unwaveringly depend on God’s grace or unwittingly cooperate with the enemy by believing his lies.
Pain can be a cause for crisis or a catalyst for change. One of the ways to make your life mirror God’s Word is to learn from its heroes. Paul was also no stranger to pain. In Acts 16, he and Silas are seized, dragged, stripped, beaten, severely flogged and thrown into the inner cell of a prison – all for preaching the Gospel. They had every reason to be angry, complain, and ask God to get them out of this unfair and undeserved situation. But they do none of that.
Their response? Remarkable.
At midnight, they are up “praying and singing hymns to God.” They expressed gratitude in the midst of unimaginable pain and inhumane treatment.
God’s response? Remarkable.
He sent such a violent earthquake that the prison doors flew open. The jailer reached for his sword to kill himself, fearing the prisoners would all escape. Paul and Silas yelled for him to stop and didn’t move a muscle. They didn’t leave even when they had the chance. Why? Because they were others-minded and Kingdom-minded.
The jailor’s response? Remarkable.
“What must I do to be saved?”
Paul and Silas’ witness and integrity silently preached a sermon that led to the salvation of the jailor and his entire family. In the middle of the night, the jailor took them to his house, washed their wounds and asked that he and his family immediately be baptized. He fed them a meal and was “full of joy because he had come to believe.” Paul and Silas were released. 2 men of faith, 24 hours and a 360 degree turnaround.
Let me ask you a couple of questions.
Would the jailor and his family have received salvation if Paul and Silas had not been in prison?
Would God have provided for their deliverance if they had been complaining, angry at God and bitter?
I’d love for you to chew on these takeaways and share your thoughts by leaving me a comment below:
- If you want to find God in the fog of pain, cultivate and activate an attitude of gratitude.
- Our response in trial has a lot to do with God’s ability to bless us. Complaining stops God’s hand.
- God always provides a way, it’s just not always the way we wanted.
- If we truly believe God is working on our behalf in ALL situations, we can grab ahold of the rope of gratitude.