Life At Its Best: Praising through the pain
I recently decided to start running again. But after a couple of runs, I noticed some sharp pains in my feet. I tried toughing it out, but eventually decided to tell my wife. Like all good wives, she suggested I see a doctor. Like all stubborn husbands, I refused.
Sure, I knew I was in pain, but I didn't want to admit it. I figured that if I just ignored it, it would eventually go away. We often handle pain in our lives the same way. We know it's holding us back, but we hope that if we ignore it, it'll disappear.
God doesn't want us accepting pain without a fight. He's called us to overcome our hurt through his strength.
1 Peter 5:10 says, ". the God of all grace . will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast." We all experience tough times; what separates the overcomers from the defeated is our response.
The first response we should have in our pain is praise. Though you've probably heard this often, it's one of the easiest truths to forget in the midst of hardship.
In 1 Peter 1, Peter speaks to churches facing a tough time ... he doesn't begin sympathetically, saying, "I'm so sorry for what's happening to you." Instead, he begins by saying, "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord, Jesus Christ!" He was reminding the people that no matter what terrible things were happening to them, God could make amazing things happen for them.
Just like Peter, we also should keep a positive attitude regardless of our situation. There'll be times when we'll be tempted to get discouraged, but we must continue praising God, knowing that He's strengthening us every step of the way.
Then, not only must we praise through our pain, but we must also pray through it. Peter encourages us that "God's power protects you through your faith until salvation is shown to you at the end of time ... These troubles come to prove that your faith is pure."
In painful times, our faith is tested. Instead of getting frustrated we must continue to pray and prove the purity of our faith. When we do, we find God's protection and power. Only then can we persevere through any challenge we face.
Are you in a place of pain today? If so, I encourage you to not let discouragement overcome you. Instead, keep an attitude of praise. Allow God's ability to produce hope in your heart about what he can do. Then, continue to pray and trust that He'll provide all the strength and protection you need.
God wants to help us. He's not focused on why or how we got into our painful situation. He's focused on moving us out of it and into his best. If we'll allow him, he will heal us from our pain and make us stronger than before.
Jim Graff is the Senior Pastor of Faith Family Church in Victoria. faithfamilyvictoria.com.