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"No; there is a purpose to your pain."

When we cry out to God for relief from the midst of our pain, there is a very difficult answer that we may receive - and that is the answer God once gave to his own Son, to Jesus.

In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus poured out his prayer to his Father, pleading that, if it was possible, the cup of suffering might pass from him. He was in such agony that the capillaries in his skin burst so that his sweat was bloody. But God said, “NO; THERE IS A PURPOSE TO YOUR PAIN.”

Again, on the cross, Jesus cried out in desperate pain – “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

And again, he received no answer. The silence of his Father was a profound, “No – I cannot bring either help or healing. You must endure the pain.”

And Jesus did endure! As Hebrews puts it, “who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

So it is sometimes in our lives. Sometimes, God says, “No” because there is a bigger purpose – one we may see at the moment of our suffering, or one we may not grasp until later, or one we may never understand on this side of heaven. But we can endure knowing that, through our suffering, God will work something beautiful and great and good. His kingdom will come. Lives will be transformed. Souls will be snatched from the fires of hell. And when all suffering has passed, we shall know true joy.

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