The Prospect of Lifelong Pain
I've had a few seasons of intense suffering. One time I was teaching a seminary class in South Asia and I tripped over a hole in the street, which was terrible for me—with a nerve disorder—when my full weight landed on my left hand and on my right elbow.
I'd fallen a few times in my life, but this was the worst. All I could do in that moment when my nerve was struck was to get up and begin running down the street. I was in shock. My colleague and I changed our dinner plans, went back to the hotel room, I ordered a pizza that was hardly better than the microwave variety, and I laid in my bed in despair.
I reminded myself that God is my refuge and strength, a very-present help in trouble.
All I could think about was that I would probably have intensified pain for days or even weeks. Perhaps my fall had caused further disability and permanent pain that would never go away this side of heaven.
Remind Yourself of the Truth
Friend, if you're in a season of terrible agony, I faced that same choice you have in this moment. What do we do?
What we should do is what Martyn Lloyd Jones encourages us to do: preach truth to ourselves rather than listening to the lies in our own heads. That night, I had to preach to my own soul to remind myself that God is with me. I turned to the truth in God's Word, and flipped to my favorite psalm: Psalm 46.
I reminded myself that God is my refuge and strength, a very-present help in trouble. Regardless of what might be happening around us, we have God's protective presence. God is not only sovereign over all things, he is present right there with us in the midst of all things.
In our trials, we need to remember that God is with us.
What if we can learn to experience the nearness of God in the midst of suffering? What if God intends to work through our trials rather than simply take them away?
Where is the hope in Psalm 88?
While Christians are never promised immunity from suffering, they are promised a purpose in the midst of it.