Finding Comfort in the Midst of Pain

Published in the October 2008 issue of Faithlink, the magazine of Faith Methodist Church

Why does God allow suffering to happen … to me … to you … to our loved ones? What have we done to deserve this pain? Pain and suffering raise profound questions … unanswerable questions … because no answer to questions of the mind can satisfy the cry and anguish of the heart.

No answer to questions of the mind can satisfy the cry and anguish of the heart
Alan S.L. Wong
Like the psalmist, you cry and cry.

  "I am weary with my sighing;
         Every night I make my bed swim,
         I dissolve my couch with my tears.
   My eye has wasted away with grief …"  (Psa 6:6-7a)
You are tired … very tired. You ask …
  "How long, O LORD? Will You forget me forever?
         How long will You hide Your face from me? 
   How long shall I take counsel in my soul,
         Having sorrow in my heart all the day?"  (Psa 13:1-2a)
You feel that you are burdened excessively, beyond your strength and ability to bear … and that you can’t take it any more. I struggle with these same questions and issues. I wish I have the answers that can comfort you … ease the pain that is in your heart or body but I don’t know the answers.

Looking back at some of my struggles, I saw God’s wisdom …
    And we know that God causes all things to work together for good 
         to those who love God, 
         to those who are called according to His purpose.  (Rom 8:28)
… but this enlightenment emerged only on hindsight when I saw how all the events fitted together like a beautiful jigsaw puzzle. When I was in the midst of these struggles, I had asked "Why, LORD?" "Why, me?" Each piece of the puzzle alone makes no sense!

I do not know the purpose of the pain and suffering but I know that He loves me and He is in control of the affairs of my life. These truths I hung on tightly when I was in the tunnel. I acknowledged that His wisdom is above my wisdom, His ways higher and inscrutable.
    "For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
         Nor are your ways My ways," declares the LORD. 
    "For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
         So are My ways higher than your ways
         And My thoughts than your thoughts.  (Isa 55:8-9)
For some other trials, I know deep in my heart they were discipline from the LORD. I long to always able to say …
   The LORD has rewarded me according to my righteousness;
         According to the cleanness of my hands He has recompensed me. 
   For I have kept the ways of the LORD,
         And have not wickedly departed from my God.  (Psa 18:20)
But sad to say this is not always so. Nevertheless, I take comfort that I am His child and that He loves me.
    … God deals with you as with sons; 
         for what son is there whom his father does not discipline?  (Heb 12:7).

    Before I was afflicted I went astray,
         But now I keep Your word.  (Psa 119:67)
The Apostle Paul wrote in 2 Cor 1:8-9 about the hardship and persecution he and Timothy suffered to the point that they despaired even of life. How did they find strength in these extreme situations? They learned not to trust in themselves, but in God who raises the dead. They trusted God to deliver them.

One thing I do in the midst of suffering is to bring my doubts and pain directly to God. Remember the hymn, "What a Friend We Have in Jesus"
Have we trials and temptations?
Is there trouble anywhere?
We should never be discouraged;
Take it to the Lord in prayer.
Can we find a friend so faithful
Who will all our sorrows share?
Jesus knows our every weakness;
Take it to the Lord in prayer.
   For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, 
         but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. 
   Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, 
         so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.  (Heb 4:15-16)
How else did Paul and Timothy find the grace to endure? Paul shared in 2 Cor 1:11 that "you (the Corinthians) also joining in helping us through your prayers". So do not suffer in silence, share your burdens with your close friends and ask for prayer support.

May we all affirm Psa 23:4 and said to the LORD …
   Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
         I fear no evil, for You are with me;
         Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.



A Conversation with God | Main Page | Life in the Pit



Author, Title or Subject:

Alan's Gleanings | Copyright © August 2008 by Alan S.L. Wong