I’ve written extensively on pain and suffering either in book form or in blog form in the past; it’s something that is very dear to me for in the midst of pain lies seem to drawn out truth at times. Let me speak into the lives of those reading this who are experiencing some difficulties. God grants us patience and endurance when we are abused by our spiritual enemies (Satan, world, our own flesh). Romans 15.5 states that the Holy Spirit is the God of all comfort and patience (2 Corinthians 1.3).
God works patience in us during times of troubles and his all sustaining blessings of comfort and power (Romans 15.13) offers a solid ground of encouragement. In particular, there are three assurances the Holy Spirit offers to believers (there are more but for brevity…).
Precious in God’s Eyes
First, if I may be so bold, we are precious in God’s sight. More than just a children’s song, we know that no matter how much we are persecuted, slandered, reviled or oppressed, we are not any less important to God. Quite the contrary, the apostle Peter states that we are actually blessed when this happens; 1 Peter 4.14 shows that God’s Spirit truly rests on those being humiliated (cf. Isaiah 43.2-4).
What prince or king would not love his servants more and more when they are mistreated by his enemies for his sake? When Noah, my son, undergoes persecution, and does so boldly without folding, for being a Parkins, you better believe I smile upon that!
Compare Hebrews 12.7 with the “theology” of the day, and we will see that God actually proves His great favor upon us when we are persecuted.
All Things Work Together For Our Good
Second, another assurance is that we will greatly benefit from our trials and pain. The Word through the Spirit teaches us that all things work together for good to those who love God (Romans 8.28). What is this “good” that is spoken of? Though the outward man wastes away through trials and suffering, the inward man, which by far is more important, is renewed day by day (2 Corinthians 4.16).
Trials sanctify us! What a blessing; holiness is worked in us when we are most afflicted (Isaiah 27.9). Trials also preserve us. When the world smiles on us and favors us with riches or fame, it has enormous power over the soul to draw us away from God toward worldly things (2 Timothy 4.10). God sends trials upon us out of His great love to turn the world against us.
Just as I discipline my kids because I love them and I want them to learn something so as to avoid an even greater heartache later (out of love), so the Lord disciplines His children.
Lastly, as far as benefits from trials, we know that God works in us a view for the eternal glory that awaits us. We know that the more we are oppressed, the more we experience trials, they point us to the longing in Heaven and that our cross bearing will not be in vain; we gladly bear it. Compare 2 Corinthians 4.17.
Assurance In Our Trials
Third, and finally, as an assurance in our trials, we know from God’s word that we will not be given more than we can actually handle through God’s strength. Alone, we can’t handle a splinter or paper cut. With Christ’s indwelling Spirit, we can weather any storm. So bring the rain. 1 Corinthians 10.13; Emmanuel will stand by our side. The cup of suffering we are called to drink will never be more than we can swallow; and God knows us intimately more than we know ourselves.
When we think we need power or authority, God knows we need humility and a cross. The Holy Spirit abides in us to strengthen us in our trials; what more of a beautiful and glorious thing can you imagine? The God of the universe, indwelling His children, comforting them and encouraging them to push through the storm under the covering of the gospel of hope, imbibing us with incredible might as we wade through the muck and mud of lies and lusts.
Knowing these things therefore produces in us a measure of patience and encouragement equal to the truth we submit to. When a man or woman loses courage in a battle, their patience wears thin like not enough butter scrapped over too much bread (LOTR reference). By contrast, the warrior that knows no matter how much they are afflicted will never be destroyed, will patiently wait for deliverance from the Lord their God, who will help them.
God is a good God; don’t forget this in your pain.