How Can We Deal with Pain and Hardship?
Biblical Keys to Overcome Pain, Fear and Hardship
By James L. Morrisson with Maria Kneas
"And we know that all things work together for good
to them that love God, to them who are the called
according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28
There are no easy answers, no formulas. Everyone has to work it out for themselves. Dealing with suffering can be extremely difficult, but with God’s help, it is possible.
We need to be wary of the pat answers that are sometimes given. They usually do not work. Job’s “comforters” gave him pat answers, and God said of them, “You have not spoken of me the thing which is right” (Job 42:8).
One pat answer is that suffering is always the result of sin, so the way to deal with it is to discover and get rid of the sin. It is well to examine ourselves and see if there is sin that needs to be dealt with. But suffering is not always caused by sin.
Jesus was sinless; yet he suffered terribly. Following their Master, Paul and other apostles gave their lives to spread the gospel in a hostile world. Paul explained why:
"...indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him..." (Philippians 3:8-9)
Christians have been persecuted and martyred from the First Century until today. Would anyone suggest that this is because of sin?
Another pat answer is that, if our prayer to be relieved of suffering is not answered, it must be because of lack of faith. We do need to pray, believing (James 1:6). There have been times in my present illness when I realized that I lacked faith, and I was able to do something about it. But lack of faith is not the only reason why men endure suffering.
The suffering Old Testament prophets were commended for their faith (Hebrews 11:32-40). When God refused to heal Paul’s “thorn in the flesh,” he said nothing about a lack of faith. Rather, he said,
“My grace is sufficient for thee,
for my strength is made perfect in weakness.”
(2 Corinthians 12:9)God did not answer Jesus’ prayer that he not have to endure the Crucifixion:
"Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and said to the disciples, 'Sit here while I go and pray over there.” And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and He began to be sorrowful and deeply distressed. Then He said to them, 'My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch with Me.”
"He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, 'O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.”' (Matthew 26:36-39)
Would anyone suggest that His prayer meant a lack of faith? Of course not! Jesus was still a man, but He was ready and willing to follow His Father's plan. No matter how great His pain and anguish, His highest goal was to do His will. May we truly follow in His footsteps!
"My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand." (John 10:27-28)
Copyright 2012 by James L. Morrisson, Frances F. Morrisson and Maria M. Kneas
You can download a free PDF file of the book at: www.GodsHelpForHardTimes.com
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