Faith Through Pain — Morning Devotions - Hope 103.2

Faith Through Pain — Morning Devotions

Faith is easy when everything is going well, because we feel we can do it all on our own. But faith comes into its own through pain and suffering.

By Chris WittsMonday 5 Dec 2022Morning Devotions with Chris WittsFaithReading Time: 1 minute

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I guess it’s very easy to trust God and to believe everything’s going well with our faith in God when we are going well. But what happens when things are not going well for us? This was a point made by someone called Job, the writer to the Book of Job thousands of years ago.

And it also relates to life today. Jenny Francis, for example, wrote a book called ‘Belief Beyond Pain’, and in the book she shared her experience of battling with pain in her own life caused by chronic pancreatitis. And this was a disease that actually originated in adult mumps and so chronic illness changed her life.

And sometimes she was very angry about the illness. She was a social worker by profession, as well as being the wife of a minister.

“So it was hard to practise a faith in that situation, when you’re in pain, when your body no longer does what it wants to do, what you wanted to do,” Jenny Francis wrote. “When I go to work, it is with me, when we go for a walk or on holidays, it is my ever-present companion (talking about the pain).” When I read a book or write something or I’m studying or praying or go to church even when I go to bed, she said. To know that I can expect to have no relief from this side of heaven is fearsome.

It’s very honest writing, isn’t it? And something that we would really not want for ourselves. But in the Bible, Satan actually questions whether job will keep his integrity as a believer if God removes that protective hedge, which Satan feels God’s planted around him.

In other words, the question that was really being asked is, “Well, job, can you keep your faith through loss and pain?”

So Satan told God, stretch out your hand and strike his flesh and bones, and he will curse you to your face. Well, as we read that old book of the Old Testament job, well, Job certainly had lots of problems. He was attacked by pain. It was a terrible pain.

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And another author in more recent time has written a very good book called The Problem of Pain. That was C. S. Lewis, and this is a book that’s been criticised and it’s been looked at by a lot of people, but it actually has some great lessons there. It emphasises points that are valid. And one of the things that Lewis says is that God can use pain for good. Now that’s really something to think about. And that was the point that Jenny Francis made, if you read this book, he refused to accept the theology that said, “well, you know, pain was caused by sin. You’ve got sin in your life that you haven’t confessed and he argued that people suffered and they were not deserving of the pain.” So he said that life wasn’t fair. God does not appear to be on the side of those who suffer. People are in pain, and it seems sometimes that God doesn’t seem to be there with them.

But job worked through this issue, and in spite of everything, he believed in the end that God was there. It wasn’t an easy conclusion to come to, um, but it’s difficult to see how those dark clouds around his life he still believed that somehow, or he couldn’t see it But somehow the sun was still there. So he was searching. He got, he got angry, and he points out that he doesn’t have the answers. But he tried then to work it through. There’s another book called Suffering by Alister McGrath. And he says in the book, Explore what God might be saying to you through that experience you’re having learned to think positively, creatively and prayerfully about what you’re going through.

If we do not learn to do this, he says, we will still suffer the pain, and we will learn nothing from it. Well, no one’s exempt from suffering, are they? Pain? Is there, I guess, for many people. But we know that this side of heaven will never have an answer. Can we utilise that pain creatively?

Let’s Pray

Well, heavenly Father, sometimes the road to heaven is covered in rocks and the climb is not easy. And we experience towards some difficulties along the road. But we know your promises are there with us. We believe, Lord, that as we pray to you, you answer our prayer not in the way we automatically expect. But thank you, Lord, that you’re with us now and in pain. And I offer this prayer in Jesus’ name. Amen.