Over the years, I have seen much pain. It has been physical, mental and emotional. Many of my closest friends have experienced excruciating circumstances. I have witnessed the tears of mothers who have lost their young children. I have seen wives lose husbands and husbands watch their wives deteriorate right before their eyes. I have watched as children get those looks on their faces as they lose their parent. The child knows that was her primary advocate and protector in this life. My heart has broken so many times for the pain so many have had to endure. I have had my own share of pain and its disconcerting to say the least. Many preach about physical and emotional victory, and prosperity for those who will believe or trust enough. I have seen that is not true.
The most obvious reason I know it is not true is because of the life of Jesus. The one who had the most intimate and faithful relationship with our God was not born into a prosperous family but probably to one of the poorest in Israel. He watched as His parents barely scraped enough money together to pay taxes. During His ministry, He was homeless. He had friends that betrayed Him, strained relationships in His family, and enemies that plotted against Him.
He had to deal with mental torture as He was tempted by Satan and prepared to meet His fate in the Garden of Gethsemane. Physically? Do we need to ponder the thorns that were pushed into His brow, the beating that tore into His back and legs, or the cross that killed Him in the most horrible way?
No, this life is not going to be victorious and wonderful all of the time. It is not what Christ called us to. He called us to glorify, worship and trust Him in every circumstance that comes our way. We are called to bless Him in the good and bad. We are told to be courageous and not to fear anyone or anything but Him. We are asked to love, support and be encouragers. He has purpose in everything. Sometimes we will not understand His reasoning until we meet Him face to face. Hosea says, “The ways of the Lord are right…” In Isaiah we hear the Lord say, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways.”
This brief time we have on earth is the chance we have to do what God has clearly called each of us to do. We have to surrender all of it to Him. When we wrestle with His ways and circumstances that we think are going to be our demise, we must remember, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:9)
We do not walk through this life alone. God is with us every step of the way in victory, rejection, happiness or grief. He is our refuge and our strength.
Where we can take comfort, what gives us courage, hope and peace is found in John 16:33. “I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”