Does God’s plan include pain for His children?
“Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.” (2 Cor. 12:10.)
The literal translation of this verse gives a startling emphasis to it, and makes it speak for itself with a force that we have probably never realized. Here it is: “Therefore I take pleasure in being without strength, in insults, in being pinched, in being chased about, in being cooped up in a corner for Christ’s sake; for when I am without strength, then am I dynamite.”
Here is the secret of Divine all-sufficiency, to come to the end of everything in ourselves and in our circumstances. When we reach this place, we will stop asking for sympathy because of our hard situation or bad treatment, for we will recognize these things as the very conditions of our blessing, and we will turn from them to God and find in them a claim upon Him.
—A. B. Simpson.
George Matheson, the well-known blind preacher of Scotland, who recently went to be with the Lord, said: “My God, I have never thanked Thee for my thorn. I have thanked Thee a thousand times for my roses, but not once for my thorn. I have been looking forward to a world where I shall get compensation for my cross; but I have never thought of my cross as itself a present glory.
“Teach me the glory of my cross; teach me the value of my thorn. Show me that I have climbed to Thee by the path of pain. Show me that my tears have made my rainbows.”
“Alas for him who never sees
The stars shine through the cypress trees.”
From Streams in the Desert devotional
Heavenly Father, I know I have repeatedly asked, pleaded, even cajoled you in my prayers as to why you have allowed so much pain in my life over the years. I know that, on this side of eternity, many of those questions and pleas will go unanswered. And I know, from the account of the life of Job, that once I am in your glorious presence, my questions will quickly be answered or become irrelevant. So I repent of my doubts as to your goodness and grace, and ask that you would use all my life circumstances, even the painful ones, to mold me into the man of God you would have me to be. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.
Do everything without grumbling and arguing, so that you may be blameless and pure, children of God who are faultless in a crooked and perverted generation, among whom you shine like stars in the world. (Philippians 2:14-15 HCSB)
We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God: those who are called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28 HCSB)