2/23/24   Lent  Psalm 60    No Pain, No Gain

2/23/24 Lent Psalm 60 No Pain, No Gain

2/23/24        Lent       Psalm 60 

Remember this is Lent, a season that Christians have traditionally “tried” to identify with the passion and pain of Jesus as He made His way through the last weeks of His earthly, pre-resurrected ministry and life. We give something up. We fast. We take on an added spiritual discipline, in part, to understand again that these were hard, heartbreaking days for our Saviour.  

The psalms we have chosen certainly lend themselves to that end. “Deliver me, O God, from my enemies.” Have mercy on me, O God.” “O, that salvation would come for Israel.” Today, “You have rejected us, O God.” It has to bring to mind the cry of Jesus on the cross, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” 

The hardest thing for Christians to come to grips with, I think, is pain. That is because we have westernized and modernized our faith. Jesus is a cosmic genie. The Holy Spirit is a lucky rabbit’s foot, and the whole point of faith is so that we can believe for, and therefore have, all of the good things this world has to offer. 

News flash! That’s just not so. And the world doesn’t really have anything good to offer anyway. Dealing with brokenness and sorrow and rejection and abandonment is part of what this earthly existence is all about. (Man, I must be having a bad day. This whole devotion is a bummer!) No, pain does happen, but the believer doesn’t mope through life all doom and gloom and waiting for the other shoe to drop. Just the opposite. Of all people, we live with the joy of knowing that our pain has a purpose, our rejection will be redeemed, and our suffering will sanctify us for a glorious reconciliation with our Sovereign Lord.  

Here are my three favorite pain quotes: 

God never wastes a hurt. That’s Celebrate Recovery language and it reminds us that while God is not the cause of every hard thing we face in life, He is able, if we allow Him, to work everything together for good and make us better for our pain. 

No pain no gain. That comes from my days as a competitive body builder (Ha, ha. That’s the biggest lie I ever told.) It does say to us that pain is necessary for progress. Nearly all growth requires a measure of sacrifice and suffering.  

The only problem with pain is that it hurts. I made that one up, at least I think I did. I just mean that nearly every valuable lesson I have ever learned in life has been from suffering. Maybe I’m just hardheaded. Okay, I AM hardheaded. But God does His best work in me through my pain. 

So, the Psalmist says, in verse 12, “With God we will gain the victory, and He will trample down our enemies.” We Christians have the joy of knowing that, though we suffer like everyone else does, we will come out on top because God is God. And THAT is the real lesson of Lent. 

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