“Where God tears great gaps we should not try to fill them with human words. They should remain open. Our only comfort is the God of the resurrection, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. . .”- Dietrich Bonhoeffer, A Testament to Freedom: The Essential Writings of Dietrich Bonhoeffer
“Pain shields us from living a Christian life in which we claim to know God but never actually encounter him.”- Brian Jones
As Brian Jones concludes Chapter 6 of Finding Favor, he asserts that Job didn’t suffer because of his sin against God. Rather, Job suffered because of his obedience to God. And in the end, Job’s obedience brought him even greater levels of blessing.
Therefore, Pastor Jones underscores, the whole point of Job centers around the fact that all of Job’s life was blessed. That spans the soul-numbing tragedies he endured, the embrace of his family, and his staggering wealth.
As a result, Brian emphasizes, pain allows us to encounter God face to face. In addition, as Thomas a Kempis wrote in The Imitation of Christ, “The Lord bestows his blessings there, where he finds the vessels empty.” Furthermore, Pastor Jones posits, there’s a reason in part why God doesn’t let us choose the kind of favor we receive when we ask God to bless us. Because we’d only pray for good stuff, left to our own devices.
In conclusion, Brian offers a few final thoughts on pain. He neither wants to cheapen your pain nor make you feel better. Also, the author lists several reasons why you don’t need to feel better. You:
- need to feel every last ounce of that pain
- must never forget
- don’t need to look the other way, covering over the anger you feel toward God and your tragic situation
- cannot hide from your pain
- learn to sit in the silence, in the dark – with only Jesus
Regarding his own five-year experience with pain, Brian states: “But over time I learned to sit in the silence. No answers. No relief. Just him. His presence, not his relief, was enough for me. It will be for you too.”
Today’s question: Where has God torn great gaps in your life? Please share.
Tomorrow’s blog: Paralyzed with awe at the power of prayer”