How do we cope with pain?
This was a very exciting week for me because, without a doubt, the Lord laid Psalm 38: 9 on my heart to share with you. Then when I read it again today, He showed me yet more verses to build on that one. The topic of most of these verses is dealing with pain, though the last couple of verses is about how the Lord responds to us in our pain. It is basically summarizing 3 phases.
The first phase is the pain itself and it comes in many forms. David said in Psalm 38: 9,10 “All my longings lay open before you O Lord; my sighing is not hidden from you. My heart pounds, my strength fails me; even the light has gone from my eyes.” We have all experienced those feelings when dealing with pain. I was struck that he said that even the light had gone out of his eyes because isn’t it true that when you are talking with someone in pain, their eyes are different? And the light that is normally there, isn’t? But, what’s good to take note of, is that in the very midst of his hurt, David knows that the Lord is paying attention to his pain. “…my sighing is not hidden from you.” When we are hurting so badly, we can never let ourselves forget that we have the Lord’s attention, that He knows we are in pain and cares.
That brings me to the second phase. In Psalm 39: 15 David says “I wait for you O Lord; you will answer, O Lord my God.” So, step two is the hardest and yet, the most important. Waiting. Yes, waiting. It is so painfully difficult at times to do that. But how did David “wait”? He waited with the assurance in his heart and no doubt in his mind that the Lord WOULD answer. When we are in that painful place of waiting and I can speak to this because I just got out of a place of waiting for close to a year, we HAVE to cling tightly to the absolute fact, that despite what the enemy whispers in our ear, our Lord WILL show up! And when the waiting goes on for what seems like an insane amount of time, we also have to remember that He has the big picture and only wants what is best for us.
And then, the third wonderful phase or even conclusion. David again is talking and says in Psalm 40: 1,2 “I waited patiently (italics mine) for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire, he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God.” Oh, the joy of restoration! The joy of getting that relief or getting that answer! David was a musician and not only played instruments but wrote songs. In fact, the Psalms are filled with songs that David wrote. And his restoration was so complete that he said the Lord gave him a new song! How amazing would that be?! A song inspired by his journey from pain to restoration! Wow!
The Lord has given us so many stories of His people long past to aid us in knowing how to handle things today. They were just as human as we are and their stories can teach us much about how to successfully live in this world. So, I believe that the Lord wanted me to share these thoughts as a loving reminder that the pain is not the whole story. It is only the beginning. If you are in that dark place right now, feeling alone and without hope, it is crucial to know two things in your waiting. One, you are NOT alone. The Lord IS with you. And two, you WILL get through this. Cling to the truths in just the few verses above and know, beyond a shadow of a doubt that He WILL redeem, heal, and restore. After all, He adores you!