Hope When You're in Pain - iBelieve Truth - December 6, 2023

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“But as for me, afflicted and in pain – may your salvation, God, protect me.” Psalm 69:29 (NIV) 

Recently, I’ve been recovering from a seriously painful injury. The pain has been unrelenting. Going through all this pain has deepened my compassion for people who must live with physical pain constantly. In this fallen world where injuries and illnesses happen to our bodies, pain is a reality we all must manage somehow. Physical therapy has helped me make progress toward healing. Friends and family have encouraged me. I’m super grateful for all the medical help and encouragement. But as vital as all that is, what brings me the most hope is prayer. That’s because prayer puts me in direct contact with the source of hope – God. When I pray, my whole perspective on the injury changes. I experience perfect peace even when I’m still in pain. 

Psalm 69:29 asks God for deliverance in the middle of pain. This verse acknowledges the reality of suffering but trusting in God’s salvation as a source of protection and relief. The Book of Psalms is full of honest yet hopeful verses like this. It is open about the reality of pain in this fallen world. Yet it also points out that there is great power in turning to God in times of pain.

For those of us grappling with physical pain, this verse serves as a reminder that it’s acceptable to bring our anguish before God. We can be real with God about how much we hurt, and we can rely on God caring about our pain. God isn’t a distant figure but a present and loving source of compassion. By praying the words of Psalm 69:29, we can express our trust in God and seek comfort and healing from him. Even when the pain seems overwhelming, this verse encourages us that we can still rely on God to give us the strength we need to get through well. It points us toward God, who is our ultimate source of hope

In John 16:33, Jesus says: “… In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” He points out that while trouble is inevitable in this world, believers like us can take heart because his power is greater than any trouble we’ll face in the world. Jesus has overcome the world through his painful sacrifice for the world’s sins. On the cross, Jesus experienced excruciating pain. He suffered as much pain as any other human being would ever suffer, so he knows what we’re going through when we’re in pain. Jesus not only knows our pain, but he cares deeply about it and is willing to help us through it well. Hebrews 4:15-16 explains that Jesus knows all the challenges of being human and serves as our advocate when we need help: “Jesus understands every weakness of ours because he was tempted in every way that we are. But he did not sin! So whenever we are in need, we should come bravely before the throne of our merciful God. There we will be treated with undeserved grace, and we will find help.” Through our relationships with Jesus, we can overcome any challenge – including pain. 

Pain is part of the reality of living in our fallen world. But God will help us manage our pain, and he is only a prayer away. Beyond that, Revelation 21:4 reveals that we can also look forward to a pain-free future. It presents a vision of a new heaven and earth where God “… will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” That vision points us toward God’s salvation bringing about an ultimate state of restoration and healing. As Psalm 69:29 emphasizes, our salvation – our relationships with God – will protect us. It is our source of hope when we’re in pain, now and forever.

Dear God, you know how much the pain in life hurts. Thank you for caring about what I’m going through and being there for me when I need help. As I navigate the challenges of this painful world, I’m holding onto your promises and relying on your strength. Please grant me the strength to endure the pain I must endure, the wisdom to learn what you want me to learn from it, and the faith to trust in your salvation for hope that goes beyond my current circumstances. In the middle of my physical pain, may I experience your spiritual peace that transcends suffering. I’m confident that your love and grace will sustain me. In Jesus' name; amen.

Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/FatmirBajrovic

headshot of author Whitney HoplerWhitney Hopler is the author of the Wake Up to Wonder book and the Wake Up to Wonder blog, which help people thrive through experiencing awe. She leads the communications work at George Mason University’s Center for the Advancement of Well-Being. Whitney has served as a writer, editor, and website developer for leading media organizations, including Crosswalk.com, The Salvation Army USA’s national publications, and Dotdash.com (where she produced a popular channel on angels and miracles). She has also written the young adult novel Dream Factory. Connect with Whitney on X/Twitter and on Facebook

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