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Praise Foundations

What Does the Bible Say About Praise in Pain and Suffering?

Living in the fallen world where the grip of sin has reigned over the earth and has held captive all human beings has also created the problem of suffering that every person experiences. For believers who follow Jesus Christ, there is a Living Hope when everything else is dead and gone. That’s why there is a difference between simply existing in the fallen world and living the vital and vibrant life the God of all grace provides.

The prophet Isaiah said that the coming Messiah would be the living proof of the truth of God’s promise, that He would show God’s love, and bring God’s merciful comfort to a dark and broken world:

“…He has sent me to heal the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, [to open] the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn, [and] to give to them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness…that He might be glorified…” (Isaiah 61:1-3, MEV)

Christ Jesus, Himself, was known as “a man of sorrows” who was “despised and rejected of men”, and “acquainted with grief.” (Isaiah 53:3) There is plenty of pain and suffering in the Bible, and Christ’s sufferings were the same as those of all humanity, so Jesus, “understands our weaknesses, for He faced all of the same testings we do…” (Hebrews 4:15, NLT)

Yet, in the midst of suffering and the pain of human experiences, God’s purpose remains clear – to free the world through His Son, Jesus Christ. (Romans 8:21) That is why, when life is is bad, your ability to survive, thrive, and keep your faith alive depends on the praise and worship of a GOOD God.

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What Does the Bible Say About Pain and Suffering? 

There are plenty of Bible verses that show how God’s people walked through seasons of pain and suffering. The truth is that the numerous Psalms of Lament and accounts of pain and suffering in the Bible show how powerful the life of Jesus was when He took our suffering upon Himself. (Isaiah 53:4)

That’s not to say all suffering stopped when He gave His life for sin, but through His resurrection, believers have a Living Hope not only of eternal life, but of “…beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness.” (Isaiah 61:3, MEV)

…when life is is bad, your ability to survive, thrive, and keep your faith alive depends on the praise and worship of a GOOD God.

~Alicia Purdy

The Apostle Paul wrote, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed to us.” (Romans 8:18) 

And Paul spoke openly about his own suffering from a messenger of Satan writing:

“Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:8-10, NLT)

Many people ask the question: 

If God is good, why does He allow bad things to happen?

In the New Testament Paul wrote, “We know that the whole creation groans and travails in pain together until now.” (Romans 8:22, MEV)

The fact is, as long as sin is in the world, there will always be suffering, but God doesn’t “allow” suffering. 

According to 1 John 1:5, “God is light, and there is no darkness in Him at all.” (NLT) God does not partner with darkness or use bad things to accomplish good things, and bad things don’t happen with His “permission”. 

God does not partner with darkness or use bad things to accomplish good things, and bad things don’t happen with His “permission”. 

~Alicia Purdy

It is a mistaken and un-Scriptural perspective to think that God causes suffering or is permissive to evil. However, God does “accept” that the freewill choices of human beings who do not receive the salvation of His Son Jesus, the Messiah, and follow after His ways will always be rooted in their sinful nature. 

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1 John 5:19 says, “…the whole world lies in wickedness.” There isn’t a deeper meaning of suffering in the world than sin itself.

But the good news is that you can have hope through Jesus Christ. Because of Jesus, the God of all grace is with you in your present sufferings. 

Pain and Suffering aren’t Part of God’s Plan

In just the book of Psalms alone it is clear that many people experienced plenty of suffering in their lifetimes, but in those darkest times, they turned to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ as David did when he wrote:

“…Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me; [You] comfort me….” (Psalm 23:4, MEV)

In the New Testament, Paul wrote:

“We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed…” (2 Corinthians 4:8, MEV)

You have already seen from your own personal experience that the result of sin is still death – death of the body, death of soul, death of the heart, death of hopes and dreams, death of love and more. 

Everyone walks through dark valleys in life from issues like emotional pain, spiritual pain, physical pain, chronic pain, seasons of fear and trauma, natural disasters, “wars and rumors of wars”, (Matthew 24:6) and trials of many kinds.

In this world you will have tribulations,” Jesus said, “But be of good cheer. I have overcome the world,” Jesus said. (John 16:33, MEV)

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Job’s Suffering and Pain Were Satan’s Legal Right

In the story of Job, even though it appears that Satan “asked” God for permission to bring pain and suffering into his life, the fact is that Job – as righteous as he was in God’s sight – was still under the “law of sin and death” that rules the world. (Romans 8:2)

The truth is: Satan didn’t need God’s permission, because he is the “ruler of the darkness” in the fallen world.

The book Job shows that God said to Satan, “Behold, all that he has is in your hand.” (ESV) But that wasn’t God giving Job’s life over to Satan!

That statement shows God acknowledging that Job’s existence on earth gave Satan legal access to him through the law of sin and death, because Satan is “the ruler of this world,” according to John 12:31.

The enemy wants the world filled with pain and suffering and you know that “…your adversary the devil walks around as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” (1 Peter 5:8) 

Satan is not more powerful than God! 

Your Adversary exists in and controls the darkness of this fallen world. (Acts 26:18) But the God of all comfort, the Holy Spirit, the Light of the World, is always with you and He doesn’t leave or forsake you (Hebrews 13:5) and He walks with you through the dark valleys, the fires and the seasons when the enemy comes in like a flood. (Isaiah 43:2)  

That is why you must keep yourself close to God’s presence because He is LIGHT. (1 John 1:5) and LIFE is found in Him and, “…the life was the light of mankind. The light shines in darkness, but the darkness has not overcome it.” (MEV)

when the enemy comes in like a flood printable Isaiah 59 19

“When My Heart is Overwhelmed…”

Everyone faces seasons in life when pain or suffering becomes overwhelming. When it seems like nothing will ever get better, or when things feel like they are too hard or when you just can’t take much more, it is emotionally, mentally, spiritually and even physically exhausting to keep your head above water. 

The truth is that the pain and suffering all human beings experience in life comes from:

  1. The sinful darkness of the fallen world
  2. The choices that you make
  3. The actions and decisions of other people
  4. Your Adversary who seeks to “steal, kill, and destroy.” (John 10:10)

The Lord has your answer about where your pain and suffering comes from. The light in your dark valley is His Word (Psalm 119:105). Seek Him there and He will show you the path for your victory, healing and restoration.

Your heart is the place from where “the issues of life” flow. (Proverbs 4:23) Everything that pertains to your human experience starts in the heart, which encompasses your mind, your will, your passions and appetites, your character. David wrote: 

“From the end of the earth I will cry to You; when my heart is overwhelmed, lead me to the rock that is higher than I.” (Psalm 61:2) 

When you are overwhelmed in your heart, remember that those things that seem so difficult and impossible and huge are not bigger than God.

Learn more about the 7 Hebrew Words for Praise and how each one helps create strength, intimacy, and fresh revelation as you understand more about God’s plan for praise in your life!

Your praise will overwhelm your problems or your problems will overwhelm your praise. Praise and worship are actions of faith in the Lord and defy the flesh as you lift the Lord high over your experiences and offer a willing, living sacrifice of thanksgiving to the Lord in whom you trust. It won’t be easy, but it will be worth it.

When your spirit is overwhelmed, everything is thrown into disorder because your spirit guides the heart and the flesh, the mind and the soul. Spiritual turmoil can come from deep questions or confusion or conflict about who God is, or because your natural experiences aren’t lining up with the promises in God’s Word. Maybe sin, doubt, or darkness have crept in. 

The first step of following Jesus is to “Deny yourself.” (Matthew 16:33) That means what you feel must be filtered through the Word of God and there He will show your spirit where to go. (Psalm 119:105)

“I remember God, and I groan; I complain, and my spirit is overwhelmed.” (Psalm 77:3) YET, “May I remember my song in the night; may I meditate in my heart; my spirit made a diligent search…” (Psalm 77:6)

The path forward from being overwhelmed in your spirit is to deny your flesh and remind yourself of the nature and the character of God who transforms you day by day. When your spirit is overwhelmed, your faith can grow weak and you are vulnerable to other spiritual attacks. In your praise, God dwells (Psalm 22:3) and that is the safest place for your spirit.

Your soul is the “candle of the Lord” that makes you who you are. (Proverbs 20:27) Your soul is the inner person that breathes and thinks with the mind and makes choices and has desires, forms connections with other humans. Your soul is deeply affected by the things of this world and is in need of salvation, transformation and the sanctification of Jesus Christ. 

Your soul becomes tied and imprinted upon by the experiences it has in the world. If your soul is overwhelmed from the pain and suffering you’re walking through, it will affect everything else in your life.

When Jonah was trapped in the belly of the great fish, he wrote, 

“The waters encompassed me; even to my soul the deep surrounded me…When my soul was overwhelmed within me, I remembered the Lord; and my prayer came to You, into Your holy temple.” (Jonah 2:1-9) 

Don’t let the enemy make you think that you’ve done “too much” or “gone too far” – God knows where to find you. “Pour out your heart before Him.” (Psalm 62:8, MEV) He knows it all anyway, so you may as well acknowledge it and give Him what you can no longer hold.

What Does the Testing of Your Faith Accomplish?

The difficult times you walk through in life will put you into a testing of your faith in the Lord. It’s not God’s plan to break you – that’s Satan’s plan because he hates you! It is God’s plan to transform you into His image because He loves you. 

  • His goodness and mercy follow you. (Psalm 23:6) 
  • His plans are for a “future and a hope, to prosper you and not to harm you.” (Jeremiah 29:11)
  • The Lord is, “merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth.” (Exodus 34:6)
  • God is “good to all, and His tender mercies are over all His works.” (Psalm145:9)

Because he understood that the bad things in the world didn’t change the goodness of God, the Apostle Paul wrote that believers must accept that, “suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint.” (Romans 5:3-5, MEV & ESV)

changed from glory to glory verse

Your hope is in the revelation of Jesus Christ as the Living Hope. (1 Peter 1:3)

That’s why James wrote, “…count it all joy when you fall into diverse temptations, knowing that the trying of your faith develops patience, and let patience perfect its work…” (James 1:2-4, MEV)

 You’re in a spiritual battle, and you have been given effective spiritual weapons, but you have to use them if you want to see victory. And you must know how to use them, too! 

It’s not God’s plan to break you – that’s Satan’s plan because he hates you! It is God’s plan to transform you into His image because He loves you. 

~Alicia Purdy

Your emotional responses are normal and natural, but you need a supernatural approach to the pain and suffering you’re experiencing. Without the strength of the Lord, you won’t survive the storms.

It is during these seasons when we everyone struggles to press into God because it feels exhausting or you think it won’t “work”. Yet, praise and worship are part of the strategy of victory God has for you and that is why the enemy tries so hard to exhaust you. He knows you’ll win if you will truly fight!

“Lead Me to the Rock that is Higher than I”

Your struggles in life are not against flesh and blood, (Ephesians 6:12-18) but that is what it will look like on the surface with your natural eyes. Don’t fall into the trap of seeing your painful experience through natural eyes. 

Lead me to the rock that is higher than I,” David wrote. “For You have been a refuge for me, and a strong tower from the enemy…. Thus will I sing praise to Your name forever, that I may fulfill my vows day by day. 

David knew the only safe place from the suffering and pain of life’s storms would come from anchoring himself to the Rock. The collective suffering of humankind isn’t God’s fault and it has nothing to do with His goodness and if you truly want to move forward in victory, you’ll need every weapon He has given you to fight your battles. 

  • The Word will light the path ahead in the darkness. (Psalm 119:105) 
  • Prayer will strike the winning blow, positioning you to see and to be the “on earth” as it is in heaven as Jesus prayed. (Psalm 40:1-3)
  • Praise will keep your soul supernaturally covered by God’s presence so you see the miracle with your own eyes – starting with the miracle that will take place inside of you. (Acts 25:15-16)

When you see the pain and suffering in the Bible and you walk through pain and suffering in your own life, you may wonder why praise God at all? 

The reality is that God is always worthy of praise. He didn’t send suffering and pain, but the Word of God promises that He can and will heal it. He can and will walk with you through it.

The truth is, there is always a reason to praise the Lord even in the darkest and worst times of your life—because God is always good and you need His light close to you when the world’s darkness closes in.

  • Psalm 92:15 says, “There is no evil in Him.” (NLT)
  • Psalm 119:68 says, “You are good and only good.”  (NLT)
  • Psalm 25:8, “Good and upright is the Lord.” (MEV)
  • 1 John 1:5 says, “God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all.”  (ESV)

Psalm 77:10-12 Asaph wrote in the Old Testament, “This is my grief; yet I will remember the years of the right hand of the Most High. I will remember the works of the Lord; surely I will remember Your wonders of old. I will meditate also on all Your work and ponder on Your mighty deeds…”

“This is my comfort in my affliction,” David wrote. “…for Your word revives me…Your statutes have been my songs in the house of my temporary dwelling.” (Psalm 119:50,54)

You won’t be in this place forever, but while you’re in the “temporary dwelling” of pain and suffering, praise and worship will protect your mind, focus your heart, shelter your soul, and revive your spirit.

Psalm 73:14,16-17, 26 says:

“…all the day long I am plagued, and chastened every morning…When I thought to understand this, it was troublesome in my eyes, until I went into the sanctuary of God; then I understood their end…My flesh and my heart fails, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”

The right response to every mighty act of God is worship! Your praise to the Lord is a testimony. It is a record-keeping. It is a reminder. It is a blessing to the Lord. Praise is always, always, always the right response going in, going through and going out of the wilderness.

Your weakness will become His strength. Your sadness will become His joy. Your wounds will become His healing

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