Now I’m REALLY Playing Catch Up–3 posts today–there is a lot going on in this neck of the woods 😉
Pain! Nobody likes it, in particular me! In fact I’m known to say things like, “Take me Lord!” when I have discomfort for any length of time–physical or mental. I was struggling with this concept from August 10’s devotional, the opening verse is 1 Peter 4:19, “Let those who suffer according to the will of God commit their souls to Him in doing good . . . ” then it went on to talk about how we as Christians want to interfere when we see people suffering and how we hinder God when we do that. Here’s a quote:
. . . no saint should ever dare to interfere with the lesson of suffering being taught in another saint’s life . . . The saint who satisfies the heart of Jesus will make other saints strong and mature for God. But the people used to strengthen us are never those who sympathize with us; in fact, we are hindered by those who give us their sympathy, because sympathy only serves to weaken us. . . Look at God’s incredible waste of His saints, according to the world’s judgment. God seems to plant His saints in the most useless places. And then we say, “God intends for me to be here because I am so useful to Him.” Yet Jesus never measured His life by how or where He was of the greatest use. God places His saints where they will bring the most glory to Him. . . –Oswald Chambers
I do see the wisdom in these words and have learned to embrace them more than I used to in my everyday dealings with people in my life, but I could not figure out how to illustrate this concept. I was talking to my husband about it and in the course of the conversation he was telling me about a patient he was working with who had physical therapy and was complaining about the pain. If I recall, the quote from the patient was something like this, “All physical therapists are evil!”
Having been through my share of physical therapy I can see where he is coming from. Yes, it is PAINFUL and you NEVER see a PT offering sympathy. Why? Because they know that it is absolutely imperative that you go through pain to be restored back to the person you were before the injury and sometimes, you will be even stronger and healthier. I got to thinking about this from a Christian perspective. Sin is/was the greatest injury that could ever come upon the earth and human kind. God sent His son to go through the pain of overcoming that sin, putting Him through the “exercise” of obedience and trust, eventually, stretching Him out on a cross to suffer the ultimate pain for His glory–death! God the Father did not sympathize with His son and try to relieve him from the suffering–this does not mean He didn’t love Him–in fact, it was His love for us that kept Jesus on the cross and in pain. The Father required death and Jesus paid the penalty. Fast forward to now–sin in our lives is our injury, God wants the injury of sin to be gone so He puts us through PT sessions–which cause pain. He has to address every area in our life where He is not Lord so as long as we hang onto a certain sin, we will continue to suffer. We may know in our own lives what God is dealing with, but most likely we have no idea what he is dealing with in another persons life, so for us to interfere with their suffering, to sympathize with them, is to cause them to complain against God and not “gain” from the lesson God is trying to teach them.
In short–before relieving or sympathising with pain and suffering–pray for wisdom. You don’t want to be the one who gets in the way of God’s PT appointment with them.