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Pain and praise don’t have to be mutually exclusive.
The moment I chomped down on the delicious bite of food in my mouth, I knew I was in trouble. A sharp pain seized my jaw on the opposite side of which I was chewing. Bouts with TMJ (Temporomandibular joint) aren’t fun, and I didn’t have time for it now. Eating became painful rather than pleasurable. When I had endured all I could stand, I called a local chiropractor in hopes of receiving relief. After two treatments, I was enjoying my meals again.
The psalmist—along with thousands of other exiles, were in captivity in a foreign land. Far away from God’s temple in Jerusalem. Serving foreign rulers was painful. How could he and the other exiles possibly praise God in such unpleasant circumstances?
In spite of its unpleasantness, pain teaches me valuable lessons in patience and dependence. Praising in the pain reminds me Christ is my Great Physician. I depend on him for healing, regardless of whether I visit a physician or not. Ultimately, he is my healer and the One who gives me strength to endure my pain when it is short and long-lived.
Praising in the pain forces me to look into the future. For believers, a bright eternity is promised—one where pain is absent. The culprit of bodies afflicted by sin is pain, but in heaven bodies free of sin will be souls free of pain.
Praising when in pain maintains my perspective. God never promised a pain-free life. When I praise in spite of the pain, I’m reminded he’s in control of the intensity and duration of my pain. Responding to my aches in a godly manner allows me to use my experiences to help others. My response to pain shows others how God gives strength to face, endure, and overcome unpleasant situations in life without adopting bitterness toward him.
Are you praising in your pain?
Prayer: Eternal God, remind us that You are the master of our bodies and will give us the power to praise You even in our pain.