By: Pastor Josh Ryan
It was three in the morning Sunday night I had been in total agony for 11 hours. Nothing worked to take away the continuous headache and pain in my mouth from a tooth that needed a root canal two months ago.
Background to pain
I went to a new dentist to look at a tooth that was hurting, he looked at it and did not have the guts to tell me that it needed a root canal. So he decided instead to do a short term painful experiment on me to see how long I could suffer before I came back in for him to tell me I needed one. Not that I am bitter at this dentist, this lack of responsibility of my dentist lead me to this moment of pain in my mouth that lasted 11 hours. I have had two knee surgeries in my life and nothing hurt as bad as this tooth.
In that moment of suffering, I remembered what I had just preached on Wednesday night at church, Psalms 34:1 David worshiped God in all times. Not just in the good times but in the bad times of life as well.
Background on Psalms 34:1.
David had just escaped the wicked King of the Philistines after being so desperate to go into their land for refuge from Saul. While hiding he got caught and was taken to the philistine king who would have killed him, but David acted crazy and they felt sorry for him and they released him. This had to be frustrating because David was so desperate he was willing to go into the land of his enemies to find safety. After running from Saul, getting caught by the Philistines, having to act like a mentally handicapped individual, finally escaping again, David writes this Psalm 34 passage. In all times I will sing praise to you LORD. This is a powerful Psalm read it when you get time. The context alone adds much meaning and power.
Back to the tooth night.
In that moment, I said, Jesus I want to praise you, in this horrible time of pain and hurt. Thank you God for loving me and being the best Lord of my life. I wish I could say that praising God took away my pain instantly. That was not the point, in that moment I felt God building in me character to serve him in all seasons. I for the first time, felt the praise of joy in the bad times of suffering. It was one of the most powerful praises I have ever felt in all my life. This was quite frankly, one of the most powerful moments in all my life. In that moment of my suffering I felt the pleasant smile of God in Heaven saying well done my good and faithful servant. Why? Because this big baby decided to grow up and serve God even in the sufferings of life. God was allowing me to go through pain so that through that suffering I could bring Glory to His NAME! Now do not get me wrong I believe in prayer and healing, Do not get over spiritual on me here!
For once in my life, in the midst of the trials and difficulty I decided I was not going to be moved to the realm of questioning God. You have to understand I struggled with this. I had often had issues of blaming God or getting mad at God for stuff going on. Finally, I looked at my life and saw this problem, and asked myself when will I quite blaming God for everything and just start praising God for everything. In that moment, I made a covenant with God that I was going to do the best I could not to blame God but to praise God for all things in all times(The good, the bad, and the ugly). Paul while in chains for serving God, thanked God for his suffering because he was worthy enough to be able to suffer for Christ! Lord I am not there yet, but create in me a mature heart where I can continuously praise you in all seasons. I want to bring smiles of joy on your face, for being a faithful servant. Grow me now I pray Amen.
With that being said, the reason why there are so many seasoned fan Christians in the church (only serving in good times) is the truth that to many ministers are unwilling to express, that God is worthy in good and bad times. Ministers paint a popular image that God is only there in the good times, and if you are in a bad time God is not there because he does not believe in bad times, it’s the devil! This false truth on reality causes Christians to question God instead of giving him praise because often one finds in the mystery of life bad times.
In reality ministers need to show that He is there in all times so that we can learn to be faithful to HIM! For I am convinced that the bad times are a gift from God, not to destroy us but to give us the opportunity to show Him that we truly love HIM! Will we grow up and show how much love we have for him.
Let us grow in maturity and love God like never before, and then the power of a true message will transform the world, because nothing can destroy us, the good times or the bad times. These are the opportune times for us to love GOD! This will be the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ! In our sufferings we bring Glory to HIS NAME! Let us grow up! AMEN.