When Pain Becomes A Measure of Faith
“Even though I have received such wonderful revelations from God. So to keep me from becoming proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from becoming proud. Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, ‘My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.’ So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” – 2 Corinthians 12:7-10 NLT
Hello to our faithful readers. Before I begin with this week’s devotional, I would like to extend my apologies. We have been doing this for 4 years now and other than the delayed sending due to a holiday, we have never missed sending a weekly devotion out. Never. Until last week when I found myself unable to “write” due to the pain I felt. I’ve spoken before about my muscular skeletal issues before, but this time I had an excruciating relapse that literally had me bedridden for a few days. A week later and I am still not 100%. But from that, came this week’s devotional. May it be of blessing to you now or in the future.
Health. You can’t buy it; when it’s gone you wish you had it back. It’s not guaranteed. Pain. Pain can warp your mind to the point where you forget what being well feels like, what being normal feels like. Pain can consume you IF you let it. Faith. Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen (Heb.11:1).
I know a lot about physical pain (I’ve had more than my share of it) and ironically, I can measure my faith and how I have grown spiritually by my pain too. When you respond to pain with faith and prayer, something happens to you that you don’t expect. You learn to live with it and you begin to know and understand God is bigger even than your pain. You move beyond you and recognize that faith in the presence of pain is much more precious than faith in the absence of pain. And because of that, you learn more about God and yourself than you would have if you had not had your affliction. You realize how strong you are in Christ and how weak you are when you try to be independent of God. For me, I asked for prayer from my circle daily as they knew the extent I suffered, but I also found myself praying for others more during my illness.
When Paul writes this passage in the letter to the church at Corinth, we never know what thorn he is referring to. We don’t know if it was a physical or mental illness. We don’t know if it was a temptation that kept presenting itself or if the thorn was a person. Whatever it was, we know that it was a tool to torment him and that he asked God several times to remove this thorn. And we know that each time God said “no”. God didn’t say “no” because he desired to see Paul suffer. He said no so that Paul would learn to depend on God in all situations and at all times. Even during the times of suffering, torment, or pain.
If you are struggling with illness or are suffering from chronic pain, know that it will be ok. There will be bad days, good days, better days, and great days. And through all of the days, He will be with you and has not forsaken you – even when the answer is “no”.
Continue to trust the Lord and seek Him. Even in your darkest moments, you will notice that the unbearable becomes bearable and you are stronger than you think you are; not because of your strength but because of His.
Keep trusting Him,
Shaniqua & the Great Is Team