Musings on pain and patience

My Bible time the past couple of weeks has been in the book of Job.  I’ve read through this wonderful book many times in my life, but this particular read-through I’ve taken more time to meditate and soak in the richness tucked in its chapters and it has been sweet in many ways.  I just wanted to muse.

I appreciate Job so much because it builds a picture of God’s faithfulness during difficult times.  We do, to be sure, often bring difficult times upon ourselves.  If we run a red light, we’ll get a ticket.  If we fudge on our taxes and get caught, we’ll be audited and fined.  If we neglect our teeth for years, we’ll get cavities and gingivitis and need root canals.  These times are brought on by our own carelessness.  However, there are times when pain kicks the door down in our lives unexpectedly and seemingly undeservedly, and we find ourselves face down in the mud with no clue as to why.  This is when Job’s story is so important to read.  The ability to see God’s faithfulness in the past has helped me wait patiently on God in present difficulties, knowing that He is faithful.  I like how Brennan Manning addresses this issue of trust:

Unwavering trust is a rare and precious thing because it often demands a degree of courage that borders on the heroic.  When the shadow of Jesus’ cross falls across our lives in the form of failure, rejection, abandonment, betrayal, unemployment, loneliness, depression, the loss of a loved one; when we are deaf to everything but the shriek of our own pain;  when the world around us suddenly seems a hostile, menacing place – at those times we may cry out in anguish, “How could a loving God permit this to happen?”  At such moments the seeds of distrust are sown.  It requires heroic courage to trust in the love of God no matter what happens to us.  (Ruthless Trust [New York: HarperCollins, 2000], 3-4)

Times of intense pain remove all superficial attitudes.  When I am experiencing intensely painful circumstances I am the Real Me.  To love God even when you can’t explain what’s happening to you and think He’s being unfair is pure love.  You can’t fake it.  I’m so grateful God gave us the example of Job!

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