Do you experience pain? Brad reminds us that pain must be seen from an eternal perspective, while we encourage and assist each other through present difficulties.
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Pain and Doubt
As we face the everyday encounters of life, we find quite often, it’s as if a melody is being composed…drawing upon the notes of every emotion, the majors and minors, the sharps and flats, a tune that is unique to each one, sometimes happy, sometimes not. Faith in our Lord, is what holds us together, when the notes of our song, are dark; where pain and doubt become the dominant chords.
A Debilitating Stroke
A few months ago, a dear friend suffered a debilitating stroke. Though there has been improvement overall, he continues to spend 22 of 24 hours each day, in his hospital bed. The stroke resulted in a complete lack of movement on the left side of his body; doctors giving little hope that feeling and motion will return to the effected arm, torso and leg.
His faith is strong, and we encourage him that only GOD knows the plan, and can do “exceedingly above and beyond, all that we are able”. He knows God can bring a full recovery, healing, movement to his limbs, despite the advice from the best of doctors and specialists. But he knows as well, that the plan for him may not ever include the use of his left side. The difficulties resulting from that are more than one realizes initially. Without the ability to utilize any muscles from the shoulder to the toes, it is impossible to get out of bed unassisted. It is not possible even to roll over in bed. Over 50% of the bodies strength and balance are immobilized, leaving him completely dependent on the hospital staff to attend to everything.
Levels of Pain
As we do our best to bring him comfort and hope, I am reminded that pain comes in different forms, and degrees. And pain comes to all. My friends physical pain is minimal, but the emotional pain is great. As well, even though we who support him, have not suffered any direct pain, physical or otherwise; we too suffer emotionally, because of the potential difficulties we see ahead for our dear friend.
Bear One Another’s Burdens
Paul reminds us we are to “bear one another’s burdens”. As we do, it can weigh heavy on us as well. When we are trying our best to be the “strong” ones, we can often feel quite weak and inadequate. We seek comfort in scripture, in prayer, that “when we are weak, he is strong”.
Psalm 34: 17, 18, brings encouraging words.
“ The righteous cry, and the Lord heareth, and delivereth them out of all their troubles. The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.”
These are beautiful words, and like all words given by our Heavenly Father, TRUE words. But we know, and must come to terms with the reality of our faith, that there will be times when our broken hearts will feel broken, in part… indefinitely. We can all think of those who have lost so deeply, that part of them will never be fully whole, this side of heaven.
Tragic Loss Brings Heart Wrenching Pain
The National news this week shared in the burden…covering 3 stories of fatal house fires; one here in a small village of Nova Scotia, the other two in suburbs of Ontario. These stories of tragic loss are completely heart wrenching, and affect entire communities, and touch the nation.
The Problem of Pain
CS Lewis, the often-quoted Christian apologist, and one of the past centuries most respected authors, tackled this most difficult of subject’s head on…the “Problem of PAIN” in human life.
Lewis summarized the difficulty posed by evil and pain like this. He said, “If God were good, He would make His creatures perfectly happy, and… if He were almighty, He would be able to do what he wished. But the creatures are not happy. Therefore God lacks either goodness, or power, or both.”
These are inarguably VERY bold words from the author. But like the apostle Paul in many instances recorded in his epistles, Lewis was posing the extreme position, to then counter, and balance with the truth of God’s word.
Lewis seeks to reconcile these difficulties with the belief in a just, loving, and all-powerful God. But faith, as pointed out, can be stretched to the point of grave doubt, and even anger with God, when the pains of life seem too hard to bear.
What of the earlier stated words? “ The righteous cry, and the Lord heareth, and delivereth them out of all their troubles.” Does it apply? ALWAYS.
Grief and Pain from an Eternal Perspective
Our lives are on an eternal path.
God has a plan for us in eternity. Those trusting in him will not necessarily see delivery from all burdens here, but all tears, heartaches, griefs and pains, will be taken away by God, in eternity.
It is simply immature in thought, in any respect, to surmise that followers of Christ will have all pain and trouble in this life removed…”in this life”. Death itself, the utmost personification of human troubles, would as well have to be removed. But we can glory in our Lord, who declares in power “o death where is thy sting, o grave, where is thy victory”. Christ has delivered them up, and won the battle ov
er all terrors, for any and all who place their faith in his finished work at Calvary.
Confrontation With Pain
Even though confrontation with pain can challenge our faith, and raise serious questions, even grave doubts…it should not lead to a tossing away of the hope or belief in God, simply because we as finite beings do not understand the full scope of life. There are many things we have no explanation for. Jesus tells us “The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth…”
All people, Christian or not, understand this example of the wind. It moves, it creates sound, it’s source or direction can be indeterminable, yet we see and bear witness to its effects, that it is indelibly tangible.
Jesus said, “Believe for beliefs sake, for the evidence itself .” Would you not rather believe and have doubts, than to cast belief wholly aside, and have NO HOPE of God, of heaven, of a life that will be eternal?
The Difficulties of Faith
The difficulties of faith are in fact fundamental elements of faith. Simply put:
faith requires faith! Along the way the Spirit does bring to us “substance” and “evidence” as we read in Hebrews, but there are many times when we rely ultimately on the promise, that GOD is in control, and we’ll need to “lean not unto our own understanding”…. But “draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith”.
To use extreme hyperbole: Consider the Christian’s faith in Christ, if it were to prove untrue….would we not at the very least have had hope, and comfort, and the perception that there was one who was walking with us, that was above and beyond?
But the lost soul, the one without faith; condemning God or the notion of God…
is missing out on hope, comfort, and the perception of God in this life, and condemns himself, and his eternal state to separation and damnation.
John 3:17-18 says “For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God”.
Faith That Wanes
Our bible gives us examples of those whose faith waned in times of sorrow, persecution, and distress. But it is rich and full also, with examples of those who found the strength to carry on, through great adversity, crying out to God for his mercy and grace, and strength to continue on in the “walk of faith”.
All people, including Christians, find it difficult to have definitive answers in times of great sorrow, or overwhelming pain. But God…does not say that “we” will have the answers, but he moves upon us to act in faith, to know and show to the best of our ability…. that we truly believe he is always and forever the light, especially when the path is the darkest.
One day, our God will reveal all. Until that day: Give a word in season, bear one another’s burdens, and sound out GOD’s eternal message of reassurance and hope!
“Have you not known? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable”. Isa. 40:28
Brad offers up practical, scriptural advice from a perspective borne out of everyday life encounters. As we live and move and have our being…it’s the individual life lessons that most often present the greatest challenges, but can yield the richest blessings. We’ve all, as Christians had those faith affirming moments, where we’ve had an overwhelming sense of God’s spirit, or his very presence “at a particular but, maybe random time”.
Brad was born and still resides in a small community in the Annapolis Valley of Nova Scotia, where he and his wife Karen raised their 3 children. Brad & Karen fellowship at the Greenland Bible Chapel, where Brad serves as an elder.
Brad loves meeting and engaging with people. His background in sales has provided opportunities to travel throughout the US and Canada, networking with people from all walks of life. Brad is a singer/songwriter, and has recorded 3 Christian albums. Songs from his “Brighter Day” release, have aired on Christian Radio stations across Canada and two of Brad’s albums are on HopeStreamRadio’s playlist.
Images Courtesy Of:
Woman – Lagrafika
Man in pain – Geralt
Man with Hoodie – Skitterphoto
Hands – rawpixel
Woman with pet – 1265983
Woman with suitcase – Devanath