Especially When It Hurts by Nancy Vandemark

A mother buries her son who has died of cancer. A wife grieves the death of her husband, leaving her behind with young children to raise. A woman walks into the doctor’s office to get her eyes examined to be diagnosed with a congenital disease that may leave her blind soon. Another lays in bed in pain from the various chronic health conditions she has.

In her commentary, Scarlett Stough states, “The closer we look at the private and public lives of politicians, financiers, entertainers of all types, and even religious leaders or their followers, the more we despair of finding even one person of real integrity who keeps his or her word and takes wise, moral and ethical action even when it hurts .” There are other times when the “holy and blameless” stand out. How do we react when it hurts?

Ecclesiastes 9:11 reminds us, “I have seen something else under the sun: The race is not to the swift or the battle to the strong, nor does food come to the wise or wealth to the brilliant or favor to the learned; but time and chance happen to them all.”

We will have trials common to all mankind. It is how we face those trials that will be different. Our trust will be in our Lord and Savior.

But before you trust someone, you have to know them. It is through our studies of God’s Word that we build that trust.

We study the life of Joseph, (Genesis 39-48), who suffered many years in adverse conditions. It was for a purpose to become a leader over all Egypt under pharaoh. Through this he was able to save his people from starvation. He showed no bitterness to his brothers as he knew he had been in God’s caring hands.

We do not know how our lives are affecting others. While we may not be a Joseph destined to save our people, we may never know if our example is shining a light for someone else who may then be saved.

James told us to “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. (James 1:2-4)”

We were not promised an easy life in this physical world. We have only to study Hebrews 11. Hebrews gives the familiar names of some of our favorite people of the Bible showing how God worked in their lives. Hebrews goes on to mention, “Others were tortured and refused to be released, so that they might gain a better resurrection. Some faced jeers and flogging, while still others were chained and put in prison. They were stoned; they were sawed in two; they were put to death by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated— the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, and in caves and holes in the ground.

These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised. God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect. (Hebrews 11: 35-38)”

By reading these accounts, my life comes into perspective. These “others” were being tortured for their beliefs. While we may not be physically being tortured, there are others around watching us as we face common trials of mankind. How we face these trials may be a shining example to others around us. It may lead people to Jesus Christ just as the torture and death of many Christians inspired others to follow God’s way.

May you be “holy and blameless” and receive the promise in Psalm 15, “He who does these things will never be shaken.”


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