Rising in the Midst of Pain

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I trace the zigzag of sorrowful eyes, darting from ground to eyes to hands, sustaining eye contact and then dropping low to the sidewalk, like the worn-out rhythm of a melancholy jazz tune, sustained notes of sadness melding into hope, because we are called to the greatest hope.

"There are some who would have Christ cheap. They would have Him without the cross. But the price will not come down.” – Samuel Rutherford

We are only whole with the restorative power of the gospel. We must lay aside every distraction and snare in our pursuit of “the unsearchable riches of Christ.” (Eph 3:8) In following Christ and enduring the intense suffering of this life, there is a long, narrow, and difficult road ahead. 

The gospel is worth suffering for and fighting for. Truth is valuable, and truth is costly.

Are you willing to surrender all? Will you live a crucified life for the sake of that truth? Surrendering all is not futile. It is leaving all behind for something greater, something infinitely worthy of wholehearted pursuit. It means fulfillment and purpose found in denying self and focusing on increasing glory given to Christ.

How can Paul say he is content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, calamities (2 Cor. 12:10), all for the sake of Christ?

When the Almighty Creator of the universe calls you by name, redeems you, and seals you for all eternity, it gives pain great purpose. He calls us to a living hope that will not put us to shame, and we can have unwavering confidence in His promises. We glory in weakness, because He is our strength.

We rely on our sure foundation and proclaim Him as the only one worthy of praise – Christ Jesus our Savior. It is in the fiery tempest when we truly see that He is faithful from everlasting to everlasting. We are undeserving recipients of His grace, and we magnify Him in uniquely kaleidoscopic ways through our pain.

We are struck down, but not destroyed. We are never defeated by the darkest forces of sorrow, because Christ is victorious.

We rise. And we fall. But we will indeed rise, just as He rose victoriously from the grave, and we too will rise to be with Him. Now we rise continually, with the cadence of a meaningful life focused on eternity, pressing on toward the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

Our hope is sure. When we totter on the edge of sorrow and anxiety, we can be steadied, knowing "in every change, He faithful will remain."

We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair (2 Cor. 4:8). Despair has no hold on those for whom Christ died.

We rise in His strength alone. We take our stand beneath the cross, knowing we will rise to eternity, to dwell with Him forever.