I started writing this article a few weeks ago. Had I finished it then, I couldn’t have written an article about pain from the fresh emotion that I have right now. How good God is to let me share with you from a recent experience.
I got a text Tuesday evening. My brother wasn’t feeling well. What started as just “one of those things” progressed until he was in the ER with a life-threatening condition. We almost lost him. But for the grace of God, my brother wouldn’t be here today. (He still has a way to go yet, so please pray for him.)
I’m sure you can imagine that it has been a roller coaster. I’ve made trips back and forth to the hospital, trying to remember all the details. “What is his insurance? Wait, where are his keys? Did he give someone his wallet? He’s thirsty . . . Can he have a sip of water? Is he aspirating?”
I wiped dribbles off his hospital gown. Called the nurse for this, that, or the other. Tried to understand medical details that are beyond me. I held my brother’s ice-cold hand that has always been warm. “Is this how it goes? Is this . . . ?” We gathered around his bed to pray. We praised God for being the Father who listens and loves steadfastly. We praised Jesus for what he has done for us. We asked the Spirit to guide the medical team and give us all wisdom. We prayed and praised.
The Bible tells us in Hebrews 13:15, “Therefore, through him let us continually offer up to God a sacrifice of praise, that is, the fruit of lips that confess his name.”
Once upon a time, I viewed “sacrifice” as something you just hand over. The verse could have said, “Give God your praise.” I didn’t understand that a sacrifice meant a cost was involved.
When the pain runs deep and suffering is overwhelmingly intense, standing firm is an act of obedience and submission to God. As such, it is a “sacrifice of praise,” a living act of worship (showing God His worth), relinquishing to His greater will. Rather than giving in and letting the pain destroy us, the woman of God stands firm in the strength of the Father because she trusts Him (Ephesians 6:13 and Isaiah 26:3).
Here are a few things to help you stand firm if you are experiencing a time of suffering:
- Pray. God hears you. Pray away, dear sister. God is the faithful Father who hears the prayers of His beloved children. He will answer in His own time, in His own way, but always from a position of love.
- Stay hopeful. I don’t mean to be irrationally optimistic. I mean, hope in God. Hope means to have a certain, positive, and expectant belief in God. It helps build our trust. We hope in God to resolve pain and suffering in His best way, in His best timing.
- Trust God. As we experience God, we learn that He is trustworthy. Knowing this helps us in the hard times when we can’t understand why He allows what He allows. Times of suffering may be incredibly hard, but they won’t shake our faith when we understand that God is trustworthy.
- Praise Him. Praising may seem especially difficult during our darkest trials. In my darkest season, when I was grieving the loss of my daughter, it seemed impossible to praise. But I kept believing in God and recounting what I knew to be true of Him (His goodness and love) and the praises eventually flowed again. Start with baby steps if needed but set praise as your goal. As we recount His good character, our faith becomes stronger.
The experience with my brother has been a trial, but God has revealed His goodness– not just in my brother’s wellness, but because God stood by our sides during the unknown. He is faithful.
Sisters, we will “experience trials of various kinds.” When we do, we can count it all joy—not because the trial itself is something that feels good, but because it grows and matures our relationship with God. And that is a beautiful thing.