“Answer me, Lord, out of the goodness of your love; in your great mercy turn to me” - Psalm 69: 16 (NIV)
Pain has been described as an “unpleasant physical sensation” that could be caused by illness, injury or a disturbing event. Some pain could only last momentary as long as the cause is still being inflicted; there is also a pain that could last for a prolonged time. In these days of the pandemic many have experienced the pain of loss of loved ones, that can stretch for months on end.
Jesus was very familiar with pain. Upon learning that his friend Lazarus had died, he went to Bethany. On meeting Lazarus’s sister, Mary, “she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled” (John 11:32-33).
If there was a person who came to see pain in life one must think of Joseph. Sold by his siblings into slavery, he was later jailed due to false accusation (Genesis 37-39). Then there is King David. He was persecuted by King Saul who feared the anointing on his life and forced him on the run. In Gath, before King Achish, fearing to be identified, “he pretended to be insane in their presence; and while he was in their hands he acted like a madman, making marks on the doors of the gate and letting saliva run down his beard” (1 Samuel 21:13).
To these you could add on a whole list of huge Biblical characters: Abraham ageing without a child; Moses in the wilderness; Paul being disserted; all who came to experience great pain in this life.
How should we react when faced with pain? When David was down and abandoned, he wrote, “But as for me, afflicted and in pain— may your salvation, God, protect me. I will praise God’s name in song and glorify him with thanksgiving (Psalm 69: 29). David never lost hope when down in pain.
Today, if you are in pain, have passed through a recent moment that has left you in pain, do not lose your faith in the Almighty God. From the pain of being abandoned Joseph was raised to save an entire nation. And this is because Joseph had all along never lost his faith that God would deliver him.
Prayer for today: Lord Father God of Abraham, maker of heaven and earth, where I am in pain, I look up to you for deliverance, for you are my salvation; who saves the needy; this I pray in Jesus’s name.
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“Who dares despise the day of small things, since the seven eyes of the Lord that range throughout the earth will rejoice when they see the chosen capstone in the hand of Zerubbabel” ( Zechariah 4:10).
The public life of King David is well known. However, there is an early aspect of his life quite hidden though we can get glimpse of it. The first time we get to know David he is a stay home kid while his big brothers are on to bigger stuff, like fighting with King Saul. “Jesse’s three oldest sons had followed Saul to the war: The firstborn was Eliab; the second, Abinadab; and the third, Shammah. David was the youngest. The three oldest followed Saul, but David went back and forth from Saul to tend his father’s sheep at Bethlehem” ( I Samuel 27:13-14).
Left home alone perhaps it was a time for David to bond with the old man Jesse. Maybe he sometimes felt idle and ignored. But there was something maturing in his life for the life ahead. For in the meantime as he would later point to King Saul once an opportunity availed itself, God was ironing out his CV. When he offered to take on Goliath and Saul hesitated, he quickly shot back: “Your servant has been keeping his father’s sheep. When a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock, I went after it, struck it and rescued the sheep from its mouth. When it turned on me, I seized it by its hair, struck it and killed it. Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, because he has defied the armies of the living God. The Lord who rescued me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine” (vv 35-37).
That’s the point. What had apparent been idle moments God was preparing David for the battles ahead? He would not only emerge out of the shadow as a great warrior but also a shepherd of his people ever relying on God.
Equally so, for all of us, there are moments that might appear idle and we feel frustrated as we see the days go by. Yet, in His gentle ways, God is preparing us for great days ahead.
Prayer today: Lord Father God, maker of heaven and earth, for those periods in life of apparent inactivity and maybe trials, help me appreciate them as the maturing me, for in due time and season all will bear fruit, this I pray in Jesus’ name!