I had coffee with a friend this week. She’s been walking through emotions which threaten to overwhelm. We spoke of hard things. I pulled the curtain back on some ugly bits of my life to share the faithfulness of God. We laughed because she said since I appeared to have my act together that I must have made all the right choices and suffered little pain as a result of it. In truth, some the pain in my life was not a result of my choices, but plenty of it was. I have made bad choices and experienced the consequences. Along the way, I’ve learned much from pain no matter what caused it. At that moment I thanked God for the pain that gave my story credibility.
Then I will praise God’s name with singing, and I will honor him with thanksgiving. Psalm 69:30
Praise and thanksgiving are the after. Let’s look at the before, David cried out “Save me, O God, for the floodwaters are up to my neck.” Psalm 69:1
Have you been there? So have I. Despite his pain, David pulls himself together and says I’m going to praise and honor you God because I have trust in what you are going to do.
It’s easy to cry out in the middle of our pain…if you take it away, then I will praise you, fix it and I will thank you. What is harder is to praise and be thankful while we are still up to our neck in the floodwaters of the pain. But if you read this entire psalm in context, David had walked with God long enough to know that he was faithful despite the feelings of panic threatening to overwhelm.
It is hard to trust in the middle of the struggle when there is no end in sight, but it is possible. Paul reminds us in Romans that the pain produces results. God’s got a plan even in pain he allows into our lives.
We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love. Romans 5:3-5
And this hope will not lead to disappointment; I lean on that!
Let’s Think This Through
What does your life look like right now? Is it a time of overwhelm or a time when you have overcome?
How has the pain of your past strengthened you?
What is your story of God’s faithfulness in times of pain?
Would you consider unveiling some of the ugly in your life to walk alongside a hurting friend?
Father, I thank you for your faithfulness in times when I felt like David, drowning in my pain, that you proved your love and faithfulness to me. Like Paul, I have seen that trials do develop endurance and character as well as reinforce my faith. Thank you for the opportunity to redeem a bit of my pain by sharing it with a hurting friend. Help me remember the next time the pain threatens to overwhelm that you are a loving and faithful Father.
All verses quoted here are from the New Living version of the Bible.