CAGES AND CHAINS – Prison of Pain • 7/11/21

Pain comes into every person’s life. Christ-followers are not exempt. When it happens, you have a choice to make. You can turn inward, retreat, put up walls and create a prison for yourself, or you can turn to God, pour out your heart and worship. If you respond by recoiling, living in isolation and frustration, you will be bound by the chains of that choice. We often feel confused by what life throws our way. We lose our faith in others and feel that no one knows what we are going through. We may not want anyone to know what’s happening because of pride, shame or embarassment. But when we are hurting we don’t think straight, our view is skewed. Remember, as a Christian, you have the option of tapping into God’s wisdom and strength so you’ll know what to do and have the strength to do it.

Scriptures – Ps 107:10; Jn 8:36; Job 36:15-16, 5:8, 1:20, 7:11, 1:21-22, 12:13; Js 1:5; Is 41:10; Job 36:18-21; Ps 63:2; Job 2:9-10, 13:15, 19:25; Jn 16:31-33

Verses – Some of the redeemed had been sitting in darkness and deep gloom: they were prisoners suffering in chains. (Ps 107:10) But those who suffer he delivers in their suffering; he speaks to them in their affliction. “God is gently calling you from the jaws of trouble. He is calling you to an open place of freedom. There he has set your table full of the best food.” (Job 36:15-16) Job stood up and tore his robe in grief. Then he shaved his head and fell to the ground in worship. (Job 1:20) He said, “I was born with nothing, and I will die with nothing. The Lord gave, and now he has taken away. May his name be praised!” In spite of everything that had happened, Job did not sin by blaming God. (Job 1:21-22)

Thought – The Old Testament story of Job gives us guidance in handling tests and trials. Job was wise, wealthy and God-honoring. He was rich in every way…family, land, cattle, flocks. Then within a 24-hour period of time he lost everything and, in addition, was physically afflicted with an ailment. As we observe Job dazed and confused about what has befallen him and why, we see an example of someone who honors God in the midst of the worst circumstances that could come upon anyone. Job grieves his loss and cries out to God honestly about his pain. He is angry and bitter. Coming to God in times of difficulty shows that we recognize our source of comfort, hope, life. Job is totally humbled before God, and he understands a fundamental truth—it all belongs to God. He came into the world with nothing and will leave with nothing (it’s all on loan), but in spite of everything that had happened, Job did not sin by blaming God. (Job 1:21-22) Job worships God in the midst of his situation, not because of it… but in spite of it. He knows that wisdom and power are from God, and he relies on that. (Job 12:13) Job is visited by his friends who spend 3 days with him without saying a word. They are “there.” When they do speak, some of their advice is useless and some is good, but the importance of having others around you for support and help is essential when you are going through tough times. And ultimately Job declares that God is Sovereign. Job states, “Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him.” (Job 13:15) “I know that my Savior lives, and at the end he will stand on this earth.” (Job 19:25) Job exhibits great faith in the midst of dire circumstances. We too can be unshakable and assured in this godless world because of Jesus Christ. (Jn 16:31-33) He has broken every chain.

Questions – What do you do when you are hurt? How do you find relief, experience healing? What haven’t you been honest with God about? How do you praise God when you’re wounded? Would you still trust God is you lost everything? Do you find peace in the promise that one day you will be with Jesus in Heaven?

Response – Review the questions and go to God with any unconfessed pains and struggles. Be honest with Him.

Prayer – Dear God, you are Sovereign over all the earth and over all my circumstances. I pray for your wisdom and strength, so that I may faithfully trust you, serve you and worship you through all that life brings my way. Help me to continue moving forward and looking forward to that day when life’s tests and trials will be past and I will be with you in Heaven. In Jesus Name I pray, amen.

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