My last post on Monday, July 15, “More pain … more grace … more glory” has touched some folks and stirred up some good discussion on the topic of the presence of Christ in the midst of trial and suffering.
First, thanks to the many who have offered their love and prayers for my own pain in preparation for my August surgery. I am going in once again today to see my plastic surgeon for another pre-surgical “fill” so your prayers are gratefully accepted. I hope to avert what happened the last time with prayer, medication and appropriate rest after the procedure!
But more importantly, I’d like to continue the discussion of what was really the heart of my last post: that in time of pain, Christ comes to us and His presence brings peace, grace, mercy and yes, even glory.
Now I’ve gotten some great notes and heard some awesome stories from those whose own personal experience affirms that reality — that in time of greatest need, when they called upon the Lord, He came in a way that was “tangible” and real to them. For some His presence resulted in dramatic, even miraculous healing. For others, like me, it came as a sense of His being with me in the life-threatening storm and assuring me that because of His presence, I was safe — proven up by my being alive and well 19 months after my devastating cancer diagnosis!
But I’ve also heard from those whose personal experience contests that reality. One dear one reported that in the time of trial He didn’t come — “what then?” she asked. Rather than blow off that kind of question, I’d like to respectfully unpack it and examine it with you.
God is using this discussion to take me deeper into the understanding of suffering and what happens to our faith in times such as these. He is also teaching me more and more about His promises to be with us in times of trouble. And I don’t use the word “promises” lightly here. The Word is rather replete with promises of God being with us in trial. So as we begin to talk more about pain, suffering and God’s presence with us in the midst of them, I’d like to first focus our attention on this concept of God’s PROMISES to us.
Let me offer these passages, all of which deal with God’s promises to us, and ask that you take a moment to read through them and see what they say to you PERSONALLY:
- Joshua 21:45 – 45Not one of all the LORD’s good promises to the house of Israel failed; every one was fulfilled.
- 1 Kings 8:56 – 56Praise be to the LORD, who has given rest to his people Israel just as he promised. Not one word has failed of all the good promises he gave through his servant Moses.
- Psalm 85:8 – 8I will listen to what God the LORD will say; he promises peace to his people …
- Psalm 119:140 – 140Your promises have been thoroughly tested, and your servant loves them.
- Psalm 119:147-150 – 147I rise before dawn and cry for help; I have put my hope in your word. 148My eyes stay open through the watches of the night that I may meditate on your promises. 149Hear my voice in accordance with your love; preserve my life, O LORD, according to your laws. 50My comfort in my suffering is this: Your promise preserves my life.
- Psalm 145:13b-14 – 13The LORD is faithful to all his promises and loving toward all he has made. 14The LORD upholds all those who fall and lifts up all who are bowed down.
- 2 Corinthians 1:20 – 20For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God.
- Ephesians 1:13-14 – 13And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession-to the praise of his glory.
- Hebrews 6:11-13 – 11We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, in order to make your hope sure.12We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised.
- James 1:12 – 12Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.
- 1 John 2:24-25 – 24See that what you have heard from the beginning remains in you. If it does, you also will remain in the Son and in the Father. 25And this is what he promised us – even eternal life.
So now that you have read these passages, I have a question and I’d LOVE TO HEAR FROM YOU! My question is this: DO YOU KNOW GOD TO BE FAITHFUL TO HIS PROMISES? IF SO, HOW?
Please share with me as I learn more about how God’s promises impact His willingness, desire, ability and assurance to be with us in times of suffering and trial. You can offer comment on this blogsite or you can email me personally at email@example.com or you may use the contact form below.
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After more than 25 years in parish ministry, Rev. Cathie retired in early 2018 to pursue a quieter life with her husband Philip in the mountains of Central Oregon. Although no longer a leader in congregational life, she continues to follow her calling and passion to minister to those who suffer, especially those with cancer and other life-threatening illnesses.