those who keep silent hurt more.
It will not surprise anyone who knows me, when I confess, I am a very private person, keeping my thoughts and feelings to myself. In our very first Blog posting I wrote: For someone who can be very private with his thoughts, the concept of blogging is almost antithetical to the way I am wired up (09/20/2012). Sharing at a more personal level is especially true regarding my health. But as I have shared more openly regarding my challenges and upcoming surgery, scheduled for two days from now, I have been blessed by friends who have come alongside to encourage me, who are praying for me and Janice, and who simply want to walk with us through this part of our journey. Thank you for being a source of comfort and strength, you're friendship is a gift from God.
That we would experience difficulties in this world, should not surprise us. Jesus said, In this world you will have trouble (John 16:23). While we understand pain is one of the consequences of living in a fallen world, prolonged pain and suffering can undermine our faith and cause us to doubt the goodness of God. How are we, as a people of faith, going to respond when pain and faith collide?
Biblical theology teaches two parallel truths, the presence of trouble and sorrow (Psalm 90:10), and the presence of a loving, caring, compassionate God who comforts us in all our troubles (1 Corinthians 1:4). Our pain does not negate the presence God but rather moves us away from a false sense of self-sufficiency, allowing us to see our need for God, that we might find in Him a source of strength and courage that this world cannot offer. So that we, like the Psalmist, would confess, In you, Lord, I have taken refuge...be my rock of refuge, a strong fortress to save me. Be merciful to me, Lord, for I am in distress...save me in your unfailing love. (Psalm 31:1-2, 9, 16) It is the presence of God that gives us hope in the midst of our pain.
We may not always understand the 'why' behind our suffering, but we must never lose sight of the One who identifies with us in our suffering. The Bible says of the Lord Jesus, he was a man of suffering, and familiar with pain (Isaiah 53:3). On the cross he took up our pain and bore our suffering (Isaiah 53:4) and triumphed over death and the grave (1 Corinthians 15:54). In the cross pain and suffering collided with the goodness of God, and God's goodness prevailed! In the kingdom of God, pain and sorrow will not have the last word for God has promised there is coming a day when there will be no more death, no more grief or crying or pain (Revelation 21:4 - GNT). As we so often say, 'what day, what day that will be'!