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Words That Burn: Thoughts on Faith in Pain

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Life’s been tough lately, and while it could be—and defiantly has been—worse, it’s still frustrating, irritating, and, yes, depressing to go through times of trial and crisis.

And then, there are those moments when you’re forced to decide to either reaffirm your faith in Jesus and His promise that everything will eventually/eternally be made right or give it all up and sink even further in despair.

Tonight was that night.

Now, it wasn’t as dramatic as my set up would lead you to believe, but it was very real.

I was at church, and we were singing songs of praise and worship to God, as we usually do.

But tonight, the first two songs were songs that I really didn’t want to sing: “Leaning on the Everlasting Arms” and “‘Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus.”

If you’re not familiar with these songs, I’ll throw some lyrics your way.

“Leaning on the Everlasting Arms”
Leaning, leaning,
Safe and secure from all alarms;
Leaning, leaning,
Leaning on the everlasting arms.

“‘Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus”
’Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus,
Just to take Him at His Word;
Just to rest upon His promise,
And to know, “Thus saith the Lord!”

Jesus, Jesus, how I trust Him!
How I’ve proved Him o’er and o’er;
Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus!
Oh, for grace to trust Him more!

Those words burned me, deep in my heart. From deep inside of me, my pain called out to me, begging me, to stop singing!

But I couldn’t. I wanted to those songs to be true for me. I needed for my factual knowledge about God to be true in my heart, too feel the comfort and security that these songs declare.

So I sang.

And sang. Louder than I’m usually comfortable with in public.

Leaning, leaning / Safe and secure from all alarms

God, I want to feel safe and secure!

Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus! / Oh, for grace to trust Him more!

Jesus, I need that grace!

I know that God loves me; I know that He’s watching out for me and will provide for me (and my family) both now and forever. How do I know this? The first line of that last song:

Jesus, Jesus, how I trust Him! How I’ve proved Him o’er and o’er!
Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus! / Oh, for grace to trust Him more!

How many times has my life, my past crises, proven God’s faithfulness? Where’s that childlike faith that would strengthen me to believe that because my Father has always caught me in the past He will always catch me in the future?

I don’t know, but I know that I’m going to keep on singing these songs, these words that burn.

Because pain is terrible, and sometimes, the cure is even more difficult to bear.

For a moment. Then, relief comes. Restoration comes. I’m not there…yet, but I know in my head—and am beginning to feel it in my heart—that God loves me more than His own safety and security and, as a result, will keep me secure in my insecurities and safe in an unsafe world. He will guard me and guide me until I make my way home.

…[B]ecause I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until that day.
2 Timothy 1:12

He is able.

And that’s another song, a song that I’ll leave you with. Sing it, believe it, and you’ll eventually be able to feel it.

“I Know Whom I Have Believed”
I know not why God’s wondrous grace
To me He hath made known,
Nor why, unworthy, Christ in love
Redeemed me for His own.

I know not what of good or ill
May be reserved for me,
Of weary ways or golden days,
Before His face I see.

But “I know Whom I have believed,
And am persuaded that He is able
To keep that which I’ve committed
Unto Him against that day.”

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