The Question We Ought to Ask When Hurting

It’s been a rough week. This year, our Thanksgiving found us at a hospital, visiting a close relative who had surgery for cancer. It’s strange how Thanksgiving has held many bittersweet flavors in my life.

The Question We Ought to Ask When Hurting

(Photo By Artur Pokusin. Courtesy of Unsplash.com)

I’ve been lost in nostalgia for several reasons.

  • Eleven years ago on Thanksgiving Day we discovered my mother had died.
  • Last week I spoke with another woman who had surgery for cancer the next day.
  • Today marks the birthday of a longtime friend of ours who died from cancer several years ago.

That’s why, in part, when I asked you last week to tell me in one word what you’re thankful for, my one-word answer to that question was HOPE.

When we’re struggling or suffering, there’s one question we need to answer.

Pain in the Body—A Lesson for Your Soul

Not long ago, my body gave me a little gift.

I awoke suddenly one night with a smarting pain in the body. No matter how I fidgeted and adjusted, the hurt in my lower back only intensified.

Pain in the Body—A Lesson for Your Soul

(Photo by Photodune)

The best way I can describe the discomfort compares to having a doctor insert a three-inch hypodermic needle just to the left of the spine, exactly where the kidney sits. Occasionally, just for fun, the doc then twists the needle in a slow, clockwise motion.

The pain literally nauseated me.

Never before had I experienced such an inescapable ache.

The most frightful part was I had no idea what was happening.

Apply the Wisdom of Creation to Your Struggles

The awesomeness of creation exists as more than beauty for us to observe.

In spite of the chaos in our culture, the world screams of order in its origin. Its predictable seasons and trustworthy laws of nature reveal wisdom in its design.

Apply the wisdom of creation to your struggles.

(Photo by http://www.ForestWander.com (CC-BY-SA-3.0), via Wikimedia Commons)

The wisdom of creation we see is explained in the Bible we read. Wisdom played such an integral role in creation that the author of Proverbs 8 personifies it as a person present with God:

“Before the hills I was brought forth . . . When He established the heavens, I was there . . . When He marked out the foundations of the earth; then I was beside Him, as a master workman”—Proverbs 8:25–33

God’s wisdom displayed in the wonders we see also proves His wisdom in all areas of life.

Including the painful ones.

Why God Allows Us to Crash and Hurt

I’ll never forget the day when one of my daughters learned to ride her bike without training wheels. (The “fall” was an appropriate season for this event.)

As she sped down a hill toward a huge ravine, I saw written all over her face the message: “I’m not in control!”

Why does God allow us to hurt?

(Photo: Monkey Business Images, via Vivozoom)

As she raced by me, I reached out and lifted her off the bike—saving her from the ravine but causing her to fall. As the bike launched into the abyss, my rescued daughter hopped up hotter than a hornet!

“Why did you do that, Daddy?!” To answer, I simply pointed to the bottomless gorge I saved her from. But that didn’t matter. All she could see was that I caused her to fall.

Years later, I pondered how we can carry this same attitude into our relationship with God.

Waiting on God to Do Something

Sometimes it feels like God takes way too long. He could stop all the pain and confusion in a moment. He could meet the need. But He doesn’t.

Waiting on God

(Photo: hurricanehank, via Vivozoom)

Waiting on God is often confusing. He has operated this way for a long time.

When Mary and Martha of Bethany sent a message to Jesus that their brother Lazarus lay sick, Jesus stayed right where He was. When He finally did arrive, He found that Lazarus had been dead four days.

In other words, Jesus took His sweet time showing up.

Why does He do this?

Stretching Our Prayers Past Our Pain

My prayers don’t go far enough. Maybe your prayers need some stretching too.

We need to stretch our prayers past our pain.

Often our prayers begin and end with asking God to change the way things are around us.

  • “Provide enough money this month”
  • “Protect us as we travel”
  • “Heal my friend from pain”
  • —etc.

These are fine prayers, and all legitimate, but incomplete.

They just don’t go far enough.

How to Walk in Victory Against Sin [Podcast]

Romans 6:1-14

Can we really walk in victory against sin in our lives? Romans 6 gives the liberating truths needed to begin the walk of victory. Many Christians are simply unaware that they are free!

Many Christians continue enslaved to sin– ignorant of the freedom available to them through Christ’s death and resurrection.

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What Good is Evil? [Podcast]

2 Peter 2:3-9; 3:3-13

The problem goes like this: “If God was all-powerful, He could get rid of evil. If God was all-loving, He would get rid of evil. So since we have evil in the world, God must either be apathetic or absent.”

The Apostle Peter—almost as if writing for this very topic—teaches us that the problem of evil in the world stems from the problem of evil within our own hearts. God allows evil so that we may choose good . . . and one day God will permanently remove all evil.

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Your Adversary, The Devil [Podcast]

1 Peter 5:8-14

The clear source of suffering is an enemy we can’t see and yet who’s on the prowl for those unprepared. So be prepared! Stand firm in your faith, knowing you’re not alone in the struggle, and the struggle is only a temporary state before an eternal glory.

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The Best Way to Suffer [Podcast]

1 Peter 4:12-19

Peter argues that suffering is part of God’s plan for every believer; the variable remains how we will suffer. The best way to suffer is to rejoice in the knowledge that trials are normal, but temporary, and rejoicing at what’s eternal will cause extraordinary rejoicing in eternity. The best way to suffer as a Christian is to suffer unjustly, entrusting yourself to God—for in so doing “for the name of Christ, you are blessed.”

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