Lent Day 26: Finding Promise Through Pain
“Why do you cry out over your injury? Your pain is incurable. Because your iniquity is great and your sins are numerous, I have done these things to you. 16 ‘Therefore all who devour you will be devoured; And all your adversaries, every one of them, will go into captivity; And those who plunder you will be for plunder, and all who prey upon you I will give for prey.”
We have all heard the saying, “no pain no gain.” We usually hear it in the sports context, where it seems most appropriate. From the bruises and scares from the games, even the hard workouts to get ready to perform in any athletic endeavor. It actually is considered a badge of honor to go through the wars of competition and comes out on the others side to tell the story.
Our personal and spiritual struggles, as challenging as they may be at times, allow us to grow and enter a space with others to help us. God in Christ has a way to redeem even our suffering and struggles for his glory and our good.
2 Corinthians 1:3-5
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 5 For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ.
As much as we celebrate suffering in sports, we are kind of shy about it in the spiritual life. But as our texts reveals today, out of adversity come great opportunities to trust and depend on God.
2 Corinthians 1:8-10
For we do not want you to be unaware, brethren, of our affliction which came to us in Asia, that we were burdened excessively, beyond our strength, so that we despaired even of life; 9 indeed, we had the sentence of death within ourselves so that we would not trust in ourselves, but in God who raises the dead; 10 who delivered us from so great a peril of death, and will deliver us, He on whom we have set our hope.
This is also the story of Easter, of the death on Friday and the miracle of new life on Sunday. “This story attracts us and claims our attention because when we are thoughtful and self-aware, we recognize it as the story of our life in the world.”
This is the story we can engage with other family members in the church community. The story of victory over defeat. As Pete Scazzero would say as it relates to grief and loss. We need to feel the pain or loss, wait in the confusion in-between, and allow the old to birth the new.
Brueggemann would state it this way. “What is shown here to us is that there is a season of loss not to be avoided, a hope beyond, and a deep time of brooding between.”
Let us allow this season to be a new season where our pain propels us to experience his promises and our possibilities in him.
“God of transformation be with us in our loss, our brooding, and our hope. May we linger in faithfulness, not denying our pain nor cutting short our brooding. May we resist facile hopes; may we wait for you. Amen.” Brueggemann