Archive for the ‘Pain’ Category

Wait for the Joy

Weird School Bus

Weird School Bus (Photo credit: KB35)

A three-year old child just starting school was expected to ride the bus across campus to the building where her mother worked. Many children ride buses every day, but this was something totally foreign to her and caused much anxiety. As students were loading the bus, she walked right up to the door and then ran away screaming.

Finally her teacher took her by the hand and stepped onto the bus with her. She rode the bus to her destination without fear because the teacher she trusted walked with her through the situation that caused so much anxiety. When she stepped off the bus to meet her mother, she ran screaming with joy and glowing with excitement about what had been accomplished all because her loving teacher led her through it.

We often face frightening circumstances which leave us wanting to run the other direction to avoid the situation. Unfortunately it isn’t as easy as running away from the bus. Disappointment, grief, evil, and pain can strike at any time and can often cause us to feel hopeless because things are completely out of our control. There are no words to say, no instant fix, nothing left but to trust God.

Job was a man of integrity who feared God and avoided evil, but he still suffered many hardships. He lost his flocks, servants, children, and even his health. Things were so bad that his wife encouraged Job to “curse God and die” (Job 2:9). Yet he remained faithful and continued to praise God. To his wife he replied, “Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?” In all of this, Job did not sin in what he said (Job 2:10).

Even though Job could not understand why God would allow these events in his life, he was confident that God would take care of him. However, there were times that he felt frustrated just as we sometimes do. He even complained and questioned God, but he never blamed God.

Job never got answers to his questions, but he became content with the understanding that through it all God had a plan. Finally, in Job 42:2-3, Job says, “I know that you can do anything, and no one can stop you. And I was talking about things I did not understand, things far too wonderful for me.” During those moments in life when we don’t understand and want to just run away from the pain, grief, disappointment, and evil in the world, strive to continue praising God, remain faithful, and wait for the joy to come. 2 Corinthians 4:18 says, “We don’t look at the troubles we can see right now; rather, we look forward to what we have not yet seen. For the troubles we see will soon be over, but the joys to come will last forever.”

Whatever has you frozen in fear or running the other direction to escape, may be the very thing that God is waiting to take your hand and guide you through. If you will just trust Him, He will be with you for the duration of the ride, sitting right beside you, and getting you safely to the destination He has planned for you.

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Headaches, back pain or spasms, neck pain or stiffness, and shoulder pain….all signs of carrying a heavy load.  During the last few years the trend of women’s purse size is growing, and as we all know the larger the bag, the more things we pack in it.  Water bottle, cell phone, makeup bag, wallet, photo book, medicines, kindle, maybe even a laptop.  Sound familiar?  It’s recommended that we carry simple necessities such as ID, credit/debit card, cell phone, and lipstick, but we don’t want to give up our stuff.  Afterall, who knows when we might need those things.  Heavy bags may be cute and convenient, but they also take a toll on our bodies.

Unconfessed sin also takes a toll on us physically .   David knew the pain of unconfessed sin very well.  He committed adultery with Bathsheba and eventually murdered her husband in an effort to cover his sin.  In Psalms 32:3-4, David says, “When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long.  For day and night Your hand was heavy on me; my strength was  sapped as in the heat of summer.”  (NIV)  David kept silent about his sin and tried to act like nothing had happened, but his sin began to take its toll physically. Unconfessed sin and God’s heavy hand of conviction weighed him down causing physical pain and lack of strength.  Disturbed sleep, not eating, eating too much, memory loss, mood swings, anxiety attacks….all physicall effects of trying to hide our sin.  Each unconfessed sin adds more unnecessary weight to our lives, and they grow heavy like an overstuffed bag.  Sometimes we choose to live with the burden of sin until it causes chronic pain that weighs us down, holds us back, and makes us miserable.

I can remember hiding with my brother from my Granny when we were young.  We giggled as we peeked around a tree and watched as she called our name and searched.  She knew we were playing games, and we never revealed ourselves until she finally grew frustrated with our games and brought out the fly swatter.  My own children have hidden in the clothing racks and stacks of dogfood at Wal-Mart, and they loved to go in the pasture playing Hide and Seek in the dark as they got older.  Hiding is an exciting adventure for children, but as we get older we no longer hide for enjoyment but rather we try to hide our sins from God.

He that covers his sins shall not prosper: but whoever confesses and forsakes them shall have mercy.” (AKJ)  This game of Hide and Seek that we all play began with Adam and Eve.  When they ate of the forbidden fruit, they knew they had disobeyed God’s command.  Genesis 3:8 says, “Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden.”  Sin causes fear and our first response is to hide, but God provides a hiding place that offers peace, relief, and love.

Psalms 32:5 shows us how David handled his burdensome load.  “Finally, I confessed all my sins to you and stopped trying to hide my guilt. I said to myself, “I will confess my rebellion to the LORD.” And you forgave me! All my guilt is gone.” (NLT)  David was once again able to experience joy in his life.  In Psalms 32:1 he said, “Oh, what joy for those whose disobedience is forgiven, whose sin is put out of sight!” (NLT)  Whatever sin is weighing you down, God will forgive and deliver you from the guilt.  All you have to do is ask.

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You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance. Psalms 32:7 (NIV)

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God’s Unfailing Love

Psalms 13:1-6

1 O LORD, how long will you forget me? Forever? How long will you look the other way?

2 How long must I struggle with anguish in my soul, with sorrow in my heart every day? How long will my enemy have the upper hand?

3 Turn and answer me, O LORD my God! Restore the light to my eyes, or I will die.

4 Don’t let my enemies gloat, saying, “We have defeated him!” Don’t let them rejoice at my downfall.

5 But I trust in your unfailing love.  I will rejoice because you have rescued me.

6 I will sing to the LORD because he has been so good to me.

Do you ever feel as though God has forgotten you?  Does it seem that He looks the other way as your life crumbles around you?  You’ve tried so hard to do the right things, yet your life is full of anguish. David was struggling with feeling deserted by God, sadness in his heart, and attacks of enemies. Yet he ends this Psalm with praise and thanksgiving for God’s goodness.  From the desperation in verses 1-4 to the shift of attitude in verse six, David’s situation did not change, but his perspective did.  Instead of focusing on the problem, he has turned his attention to God’s love and other times God rescued him.  His honesty displays a truth that sometimes we feel defeated even to the point of depression.

Faith comes easy when things are going well, but the true test of our faith is determined by the trials that seem to tear us limb from limb. In those moments, when it seems there is no hope, remember these tips:

1.  God loves you and His compassion never fails. Remind yourself of this truth daily, or hourly if needed.

2. Reflect on God’s deliverance in the past.  From what situations has he delivered you previously?

3.  Talk to God.  Pray often and be honest about your feelings and questions.

4.  Talk to a trusted, christian friend or pastor. You don’t have to suffer alone.

David reminds us in this Psalm that even when we struggle through the sorrows that come in life there is one thing of which we can be sure.  God’s love! It never fails.  He has rescued you in the past and will rescue you again.  Keep singing and praising His name in the midst of your trouble.

In Matthew 11:28 Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.”

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