There are some passages in the Holy Scripture that cause one to pause and take a deep breath.
Such as when you read about the Apostles Peter and John having been arrested and beaten; “So they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name” (Acts 5:41NKJV).
The Apostle Paul wrote similarly to the believers in Rome, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us” (Romans 8:18 NKJV).
He wrote these astonishing words to the Christians in Philippi, “That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead” (Philippians 3:10-11NKJV).
Even more astonishing are the words he wrote to the church in Corinth. “Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:10 NKJV).
Now, either the Apostles were losing it or they knew something you and I need to know about pain and suffering.
I believe the Word of God makes it clear, these men had learned, through their walk with the Lord, how to mine gold out of their experiences with pain.
God does not want you to waste you pain.
Being born again, baptized in the Holy Spirit, memorizing Scripture, praying every day, and being in church every Sunday, does not guarantee a life free from pain.
Quite the contrary, “Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution” (2 Timothy 3:12 NKJV).
We live in a fallen world where sinful men and women do sinful things. They drink and drive causing auto accidents with injuries and even death. They molest children; rape men and women; commit adultery; and destroy families by divorce. They break into homes to steal and murder.
In this fallen sinful world there are colds and flues; cancer and diabetes; riots and wars; famine and earthquakes; business failures and financial collapses.
These things happen to the child of God as well as to the ungodly.
What God does promise?
He said most assuredly, “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose… What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things… Who shall separate us from the love of Christ…Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.” (Romans 8:28, 31-39 NKJV).
How can you mine gold from your pain and sorrow?
1. Renounce the lies “I can’t handle this… no one knows the amount of pain I have.” God‘s word assures you, “There has no temptation (pain and suffering) taken but such as is common to man…” (1 Corinthians 10:13). What you have experienced is common to the human race. Others have gone through it victoriously. You can too.
2. Affirm in your heart God’s love and faithfulness. “But God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able…” He has your best at His heart. God will not allow the pain and suffering to be more than you can handle.
3. Silence the question, “Why.” That is the wrong question. It is the question the enemy uses to stymie spiritual growth and to keep people from God and His love. We live in a fallen world where evil exists and bad things happen to good people. That is a sufficient answer. Now ask, “What are you doing God and what do you want me doing?” That is the correct question.
4. Choose joy. Refuse to allow pain to determine your day. You have a powerful will. You have Holy Spirit living within you. Choose to live by love, joy and peace not pain and suffering. They will smother your day and fill it with darkness and despair. Joy can saturate your heart and fill your day with praise and rejoicing in God’s love and goodness. Focus on thankfulness for all the people who love and care about you. You make the choice in your own mind and heart to live in joy regardless of the pain.
5. Embrace grace. God “will make the way of escape that you may be able to bear it.” The way provided is grace. “My grace is sufficient for you, for my strength is made perfect in weakness,” God promised. “Where sin did abound grace did much more abound,” the Apostle wrote in Romans 5:21. When pain and suffering swallow the heart, God’s grace comes flooding to swallow the pain. Embrace grace. Let judgment and accusation go. Embrace grace. Release bitterness and a critical spirit. Grace will give you the strength to do God’s will in the severe pain. Grace will enable you to love your enemies; bless those who curse you; do good to those who hurt you. They don’t deserve it. They could never make right what they have done to you. But that is what grace is all about. Grace will fill your heart with His joy and thankfulness then praise will flow from your lips in situations that are most painful.
That is the gold mine only to be found by those who choose not to waste their pain!