Pain & Thanksgiving
Pain hurts, and few of us would choose it if we had a choice. But often God chooses it for us, so we can experience his strong deliverance and learn to praise him more perfectly. Consider Psalm 102 (a psalm with a preface that reads “the prayer of an afflicted man”) where we discover that amid the psalmist’s pain he has learned to recognize God’s providential rescue. More than that, he is resolved to utilize God’s answer to his prayers as a springboard for liberal amounts of thanksgiving and celebration. He even directs it to be written down and memorialized so that others can join with him in worshipping God for his gracious relief. So when your stormy trial encounters those respites of peace and calm, let us follow this inspired example and share our incremental victories so that together many can rejoice in the deliverance that God is providing!
-- Pastor Mike
At Focal Point, one of our defining goals in the teaching we strive to produce is accuracy. Every word of Scripture was inspired by God and demands our careful attention. But it isn’t enough to know each verse in context. The living Word of God must have practical implications for how we live and guide our responses to life’s circumstances—the joyous occasions and the heart-rending tragedies.
How do we respond, for instance, when we are confronted by our fears? When we hear the devastating news that it’s cancer? When we suffer through painful losses? When we find ourselves face-to-face with our own mortality? As a pastor for more than twenty-five years, I have walked with many people through difficult valleys. These are the moments when our faith is put to the test, and our theology either sustains us or goes out the window.
When you give a donation to Focal Point this month, I would like to send you a copy of a book that demonstrates the practical relevance of the Bible to our lives: My God is True: Lessons Learned Along Cancer’s Dark Road. As a 28-year-old newlywed and seminary student, Paul Wolfe was stunned by his diagnosis of cancer. This book chronicles his journey and the questions he wrestled with along the way.
Perhaps you are currently facing a situation that is challenging you to come to grips with the biblical truths you acknowledge in principle. I pray that when you experience uncertainty, doubt, or insecurities, you will remember the unchanging truth of God’s Word. He is faithful to provide strength for today and hope for tomorrow.
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