Pain needs to be processed before it can become profitable. Job gives us some insight on how that happens:
"After this, Job opened his mouth and cursed the day of his birth. He said: "May the day of my birth perish, and the night it was said, 'A boy is born!' That day—may it turn to darkness; may God above not care about it; may no light shine upon it. May darkness and deep shadow claim it once more; may a cloud settle over it; may blackness overwhelm its light. That night—may thick darkness seize it; may it not be included among the days of the year nor be entered in any of the months. May that night be barren; may no shout of joy be heard in it. May those who curse days curse that day, those who are ready to rouse Leviathan. May its morning stars become dark; may it wait for daylight in vain and not see the first rays of dawn, for it did not shut the doors of the womb on me to hide trouble from my eyes. "Why did I not perish at birth, and die as I came from the womb? Why were there knees to receive me and breasts that I might be nursed? For now I would be lying down in peace; I would be asleep and at rest with kings and counselors of the earth, who built for themselves places now lying in ruins, with rulers who had gold, who filled their houses with silver. Or why was I not hidden in the ground like a stillborn child, like an infant who never saw the light of day? There the wicked cease from turmoil, and there the weary are at rest. Captives also enjoy their ease; they no longer hear the slave driver's shout. The small and the great are there, and the slave is freed from his master. "Why is light given to those in misery, and life to the bitter of soul, to those who long for death that does not come, who search for it more than for hidden treasure, who are filled with gladness and rejoice when they reach the grave? Why is life given to a man whose way is hidden, whom God has hedged in? For sighing comes to me instead of food; my groans pour out like water. What I feared has come upon me; what I dreaded has happened to me. I have no peace, no quietness; I have no rest, but only turmoil." Job 3
Ouch! That is painful just to read! It sounds too familiar for most of you.
But as I meditated on this I realized three things Job did in the midst of suffering that allowed God to transform Job's pain into profit.
First, Job approached pain honestly. He experienced it. He felt it. He didn't deny it. He didn't spiritualize it. God has programmed in us a marvelous coping and recovery system called "grief". Grief moves through steps that ultimately bring us out of suffering. But if we don't confront our pain with honesty we short-circuit the process. Job did not do that.
Second, Job faced suffering with humility. "Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?" Job did not fall victim to "victimology". Listen to this statement, "Though He slay me, yet will I serve Him." "He didn't say, "Why me?" He thought, "Why not me?"
Finally, He faced suffering hopefully. His "saintly wife said" suggested, "Are you still holding on to your integrity? Curse God and die." Job chose to hope in what he knew about the goodness of God. He refused to let pain have the final answer in this situation. That is what integrity is all about, believing what you believe even when it seems unbelievable.
Are you plagued by pain? Are you surrounded by suffering? Face it with honesty, humility and hope! God will bring you through triumphantly as He did Job.