This past Tuesday I had surgery to repair a torn meniscus in my right knee. The problem had been bothering me for several years but back before the holidays the pain increased to the point where it is was affecting my normal functioning. I decided to go ahead and have the surgery which has resulted in a good deal of pain in my right knee. It’s been an interesting experience learning to walk on crutches, even if it was just for a couple days. It’s interesting how sometimes we have to go through painful circumstances and situations in order to get rid of the pain. I could’ve continued to live with pain in my right knee or I could’ve decided to have it operated on to hopefully relieve that pain, which is the decision that I’ve made. Pain is really an interesting topic to consider. I would suggest to you that God uses painful situations and circumstances in our lives to help us rely on Him and to call out to Him in the midst of our pain. Peter tells us in his first epistle, “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you,” (1Peter 5:7 NIV). Casting all of our anxiety on God is something that we don’t naturally do. We want to try to handle things in our own strength and with our own resources. But when we’re going through painful life circumstances that we really don’t have any control over it is in these times that we find that Jesus’ heart beats with pity for our sorrow. We also can find when we cast all of our cares on the Lord or that whatever burdens we may have, it is not a heavy burden for Jesus to bear. He’s already born the heaviest burden, which was indeed the wages of the sin of all humanity. But what a comfort it is to us in the midst of painful circumstances to know that we can trust the Lord Jesus Christ to work everything together for our good and for His glory (Rom.8:28). What a serene and peaceful life we could lead if we learned the importance of casting all of our cares on the Lord Jesus Christ. If you are one of God’s children know that He can bind up your wounds and heal your broken heart as you bring your burdens and needs to Him.
I’m reminded of Paul’s words when he was dealing with a thorn in his flesh that he called a messenger from Satan to torment him. Paul writes in 2 Corinthians, “Three times I pled with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me,” (2 Cor.10:8-9 NIV). Paul had learned that through his suffering God gave him a unique ministry that he would not have had if he hadn’t experienced this thorn in the flesh. God has this rather remarkable ability of using bad things in our lives to further His work through our brokenness. We tend to want to hide the scars in our lives because they may be a source of embarrassment to us. Yet many times the pain that we have experienced can be a channel of blessing for those to whom we seek to minister. Earlier in the same epistle Paul wrote, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows,” (2 Cor.1:3-5 NIV). In this passage Paul, who experience much suffering in his life, teaches us that God would use the format of our own suffering to be a blessing and a source of comfort to others who are going through difficult times. I’m amazed at how many times God has used the brokenness from my own life to minister to people who are going through difficult times in their personal lives. The key to applying this passage in 2 Corinthians is to experience God’s touch and God’s strengthening even while we are going through painful or difficult times. Later on today (Friday) I will begin my physical therapy on my right knee. I expect that I will have some pain in the process of physical therapy. But that pain is for the purpose of helping my recovery. God uses pain in our personal lives to mold us and shape us into the image of the Lord Jesus Christ. No one experienced more unjust pain than our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. But He went through His experiences so that we may become part of His family. I pray that God would use my pain as a format to reach out and minister to those around me who need the comforting touch of the Lord Jesus Christ. Let’s make sure that the compassion of the Lord Jesus Christ is overflowing out of our hearts and lives as God is working even through our difficulties. That’s a challenging thought even for me as I prepared to go to PT later on today. How are you doing in casting all your cares on the Lord Jesus Christ?
Shalom, Pastor Rich Sivo