Praising Through The Tears
Updated: Sep 19, 2018
When pain comes—whether physical or emotional—it can do a number on us in a short amount of time; when it remains, it can actually change us into a different person. Our response to pain will determine our future. When we respond properly to suffering we become stronger and wiser, bringing glory to our God. But when we respond improperly, we become hard, bitter, resentful, and quite unhappy.
The reason for pain is no mystery—it is a consequence of sin (Genesis 3:16-19; Romans 5:12; 8:22) and it affects everybody (Job 14:1). As much as we try to avoid it, pain will always be a part of our life. This reality can cause us to sink into depression…or…we can change our perspective—because there is a positive side to pain and suffering. God can empower our pain and suffering to become the seed of fruitful joy and praise in our lives. Consider what Romans 5:2-3,11 declares:
“By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.”
When we are broken before the Lord we are surrendered; and when we are surrendered, we are deeply content. This contentment begins with shallow roots that quickly intertwine and grow deeper, producing spiritual strength and the ability to face future struggles, pain and suffering. What happens in this process is that we actually learn the joy of not having to understand everything in order to endure everything. We rely less on control, data, forecasts and guarantees about our temporary circumstances and are made to take deep satisfaction in claiming the promises from God. When suffering takes away all of the things we typically and naturally rely upon (our strength, our ability, our resources, our intelligence, other people, money, health, etc.) we are left with the understanding that God Himself is the only valid constant to whom we must turn. Sound doctrine teaches us that “God is enough” but suffering proclaims even more loudly, “God is not only enough…He is ALL we need!”
The theme of Heaven is God’s glory (Revelation 4:11). If this theme is what God has declared will be the lasting emphasis in eternity, shouldn’t we believe that His glory is the main point of life here and now? It would be a mistake to assume that this life is primarily about us—our ease, our plans, our happiness—and then to assume the great transition to God’s glory will occur only when we enter into Heaven. No, the humbling truth for a proud generation of Christians is that the life that now is, and the life which will be, is all about the praise and glory of God. If we can truly believe this then we are empowered to view even our most distressing seasons of life as being consistent with God’s theme of the ages.
One day, pain will be never again. Never! That day is coming for those who have received the gift of God’s grace in Christ Jesus. But until then, we will experience pain and suffering and must choose to hold on to the Word of God, being convinced that there is unspeakable reward in embracing what He has chosen for us. This infuses our struggles with eternal value as we anticipate the fulfillment of Jesus’ words in Matthew 5:4, “Blessed are they are that mourn: for they SHALL be comforted.” Mourning, loss, and pain will come to an end but the comfort and joy will endure forever.
Paul understood this and gave us this pillar of hope to which we must flee, “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”