Sunday, March 9, 2014

More on Scars and Pain as a Gift

My sweet sister wrote to me after my last post on scars pointing out that there is a big difference between the first two examples who were victims of the sin of others and Jacob who was wrestling with God.  I agree with her.  I won't say that God causes evil,  but He certainly uses it and even on several occasions takes credit for having plans in it.  Joseph is one clear example when he said, Genesis 50:20 NLT says, "You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people." Of course the cross is another case in point where people meant evil but God had it all planned from the foundation of the world for the good of all.  So, though I admit that my example wasn't really fitting, I still feel that when pain or evil touches our lives, God has a hand in it and a plan for good. Where evil touches my life, leaving a scar - there, too, is the touch of God.  I also have a hunch that it is the very things that cause us the most pain that God will use the most to bring about good in others' lives providing we don't turn away from Him and become bitter.

I was thinking this morning about a couple of Biblical passages that relate to our scars and the gift of pain.

II Corinthians 1:3-5KJV says, "Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.  For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth in Christ."

The compassion born of suffering is deep.  Someone who has suffered can bear our burdens and share our sorrows with just a look or a touch.  One who has suffered doesn't give out simple platitudes and empty words in times of pain because they have already been on the other side.  The comfort they found in their dark hour is the word or action they know to share with another.  God means our sufferings to make us more compassionate and thus more useful in the body.

Our earthly suffering is just temporary, though it can feel like forever in the middle of a dark night.  They hold for us great benefit - 
 II Corinthians 4:17 KJV says, "For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;

New Living Translation says it this way, "For our present troubles are small and won't last very long.  Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever!"

So if you are in pain - look up, take the hand of God and cooperate with His good plan for redeeming an ugly situation.The intensity of the pain is probably in direct proportion with the weight of glory He intends to bring about through it.  And of course that good lasts forever!

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