Do I React or Respond When Pain Hits?

When the going gets tough to you respond–or react? Elizabeth shares why these two coping tools are different and why it makes a different.

“Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like Him; He is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.” (Job 1:8)

How often have you been compared to the patriarch Job? For me it seems as common as getting stuck by a needle, I hardly notice it anymore. And just like with injections, it bothered me at first. Who wants a life like Job’s? And who would dare consider themselves “perfect and blameless?”

As my life circumstance became more and more ludicrous, Job became a book of deep study. My understanding has opened up to its very relevant message. And as we view it as a whole story we see that Job is not the martyr we think him to be. Sparing you a long Bible study, I have come to the conclusion that our dear Job was as much of a “fool” as the rest of us.

His outward record was spotless and his intentions pure, but his righteous rags were just as filthy as your efforts and mine. So, now we are in the same boat as faithful Job: fools compared to God, but having to go through the wringer to really grasp that fact.

In the KJV of today’s verse, God shows us three elements of a worthy walk, integrity (complete and upright), humility (feareth God), and holiness (escheweth evil). The biggie to me here is that Job, when hit with one tribulation upon another, resorted to these virtues instead of his human nature. Had he reacted, took action according to his own logic, he would have sinned. Job chose to react. He did what had become his second nature–he responded with praise.

Think of your lowest time physically, a low in illness or a 10 on the pain scale. What single word came to your mind first? Yes, this is a test (smile). My first and thought is always Oh, Lord’/em> or God, dear God.

These thoughts could be uttered as a reaction –which would be using His name in vain. But when gasped in abandon and brokenness, it becomes a response it is praise.

It is a pure groaning of the soul, the sorrow of sin, and the yearning for salvation. It is the naked soul and I believe it is pleasing to God.
Now when I hit my toe on a chair leg I will react with my first nature and exclaim in my pain. I don’t swear (by God’s grace) but I sure don’t praise. At other times, barely conscious and near death or times of severe pain, my mind opens up and is consumed in a single thought: my Lord and my God… I am then going on second nature and responding.

Pain, sickness, and sorrow have all grieved God since they began. The day man reacted, sin ruined the planet, and the perfect praise ended. We are given the power to respond to life’s distress in a way that magnifies God. We can react like Adam and Eve did or we can respond like Job did.

Prayer: Lord, sanctify our minds and lips that we might bring You honor and glory in our worst moments. Thank You for being there for us with open arms each time we are in need. May our affliction seem light compared to the riches You offer us. We praise You, in Jesus precious name, Amen.

About the author:
Elizabeth Vendley is the wife of David, and lives in North Central Michigan. They have raised seven children. Elizabeth has lived with severe Interstitial Cystitis since 1996. Her passion is glorifying the Lord by writing out the lessons He has taught her. She would love to hear from readers through the Sunroom. Elizabeth welcomes readers to see her musings and gleanings in her blog

What are your first thoughts in times of deep suffering? How do you get your focus off the pain and on to praise?

“Holding On” is a song with some powerful lyrics, with Jamie Grace. Regardless of what life may throw at you, how you respond makes all the difference and the blessings you will discover through the pain. I know just how hard it is to keep hanging on, and yet, I think sometimes that is God’s purpose for me. To just hang on. Hope this song blesses you. -Lisa

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