Giving Thanks Despite the Pain

psalm 9-1

It all started like this:

One can of those Pillsbury rolls, the kind where you have to pop the seal and you jump 2 feet in the air in surprise when you open them. .

Plus:

One bare foot.

Plus:

One sleepy mom on a Sunday morning.

Equals:

A can of Pillsbury cinnamon rolls slamming down onto that bare foot causing that sleepy mom a great deal of pain.

I limped around most of Sunday and finally eased my foot out of my shoe Sunday evening (after finally giving up on the pain just going away.)

My big toe was swollen and green (yes, green).

Nice.  I guess I broke my toe or something along those medical lines.

And, when you move around doing a lot of stuff (as a mom with four kids does), it turns out you kind of need your big toe not to be throbbing with excruciating pain.

Who knew?

I’ve been celebrating the tiny stages of recovery this week. Sure, my foot has changed a few colors, but it hurts less.

Yesterday I could move my toe and wear a regular pair of shoes again.

But now, since I’ve been walking funny for four days, I’ve noticed aches in my leg and other toes.

They are a reminder that something isn’t doing it’s job in my body and other parts are compensating.

This tiny bit of brokenness, this irritating ache has me aware.

I’m aware of my toe’s value, of everything I’ve taken for granted and all that it normally does for me.

I’m aware of what I actually need to do and what I can let go of for a while until I’m walking again without the limp.

And, I’m aware of tiny graces and the mercies I might otherwise overlook.

I remember the moment I realized my toe wasn’t going to simply sting for a few minutes and then feel better.

“Great,” I thought, “I have to do Children’s Church today!  Tomorrow, I start a week with a whole lot of driving and times when I’ll be working with kids and moving all around.  This is really bad timing.”

That’s true, of course.  My week would have been easier without a foot injury.

But I’ve been okay.

Sometimes we can work ourselves up into despair.  The one thing we pray won’t happen (of course) happens. We can’t ever see it getting better.  The timing is awful.  The provision is scarce.

And all that might very well be true.

Even then, though, even in the worst…or the uncomfortable, the painful, the unwanted, the heartbreaking, and the disappointing. He can transform the “worst thing” into a “God thing” with whispers of His grace, hints of His love, and reminders of His presence.

It’s like getting a thank you card just when you felt overlooked.

Or your two-year-old son not having a tantrum during that important meeting even though he missed his nap today.

It’s getting unexpected provision when you felt overwhelmed by one extra expense too many this month.

It’s God’s comfort and strength as you mourn.

It’s making it through the week with an aching toe and it all working out just fine even when you didn’t think it could.

I’ve been praying so much this year–for others, for my family–for big miracles, for visible deliverance, for undeniable healing, for rescue and provision.

But I also want to be aware of the daily blessings, the brushes with grace, the tender mercies.

I want to remember the way God sometimes doesn’t deliver me from difficult circumstances or disappointment or hurt.  But He does deliver me through. 

The Psalmist wrote:

I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart;
    I will recount all of your wonderful deeds.” (Psalm 9:1 ESV)

ALL His wonderful deeds–not just the grand ones.

Timothy Keller says,

“We must discern God’s ‘wonderful deeds’ in our lives, a phrase that can refer to dramatic miracles like the parting of the Red Sea. However, we must also learn to see the more subtle ways God comforts us just when we were ready to give up, or brings the right friend or book or line of thinking into our lives just when we needed it” (The Songs of Jesus).

God didn’t keep that cinnamon roll can from hitting my toe.  He didn’t miraculously heal my foot after I’d hurt it.

Those would have been wonderful.

But He’s helping me make it through, and that’s wonderful, too.

He’s changing my focus from the worst, the disappointment, the hurt and the stress to His comfort and help just when I need it.

And I give Him thanks with all my heart.

25 Bible Verses for When You Need God’s Comfort

versescomfort

  • Psalm 23:4 ESV
    Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
        I will fear no evil,
    for you are with me;
        your rod and your staff,
        they comfort me.
  • Psalm 71:21 ESV
    You will increase my greatness and comfort me again.
  • Psalm 86:17 ESV
    Show me a sign of your favor,
        that those who hate me may see and be put to shame
        because you, Lord, have helped me and comforted me.
  • Psalm 119:50 ESV
    This is my comfort in my affliction, that your promise gives me life.
  • Psalm 119:52 ESV
    When I think of your rules from of old,
        I take comfort, O Lord.
  • Psalm 119:76 ESV
    Let your steadfast love comfort me according to your promise to your servant.
  • Psalm 119:81-82 ESV
    My soul longs for your salvation;
        I hope in your word.
    82 My eyes long for your promise;
        I ask, “When will you comfort me?”
  • Isaiah 12:1 ESV
    You will say in that day: “I will give thanks to you, O Lord, for though you were angry with me, your anger turned away, that you might comfort me.
  • Isaiah 40:1 ESV
    Comfort, comfort my people, says your God.
  • Isaiah 49:13 ESV
    Sing for joy, O heavens, and exult, O earth; break forth, O mountains, into singing! For the Lord has comforted his people and will have compassion on his afflicted.
  • Isaiah 51:3 ESV
    For the Lord comforts Zion; he comforts all her waste places and makes her wilderness like Eden, her desert like the garden of the Lord; joy and gladness will be found in her, thanksgiving and the voice of song.
  • Isaiah 51:12 ESV
    “I, I am he who comforts you; who are you that you are afraid of man who dies, of the son of man who is made like grass,
  • Isaiah 52:9 ESV
    Break forth together into singing,
        you waste places of Jerusalem,
    for the Lord has comforted his people;
        he has redeemed Jerusalem.
  • Isaiah 56:18 ESV
    I have seen his ways, but I will heal him; I will lead him and restore comfort to him and his mourners,
  • Isaiah 61:1-2 ESV
    The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me,
        because the Lord has anointed me
    to bring good news to the poor;[a]
        he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
    to proclaim liberty to the captives,
        and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;[b]
    to proclaim the year of the Lord‘s favor,
        and the day of vengeance of our God;
        to comfort all who mourn;
  • Isaiah 66:13 ESV
    As one whom his mother comforts, so I will comfort you; you shall be comforted in Jerusalem.
  • Jeremiah 31:13 ESV
    Then shall the young women rejoice in the dance, and the young men and the old shall be merry. I will turn their mourning into joy; I will comfort them, and give them gladness for sorrow.
  • Zechariah 1:17 ESV
    Cry out again, Thus says the Lord of hosts: My cities shall again overflow with prosperity, and the Lord will again comfort Zion and again choose Jerusalem.’”
  • Matthew 5:4 ESV
    “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”
  • Acts 9:31 ESV
    So the church throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria had peace and was being built up. And walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, it multiplied.
  • 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 ESV
    Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.
  • 2 Corinthians 7:6-7 ESV
    But God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us by the coming of Titus, and not only by his coming but also by the comfort with which he was comforted by you, as he told us of your longing, your mourning, your zeal for me, so that I rejoiced still more.
  • 2 Corinthians 13:11 ESV
    Finally, brothers, rejoice. Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you.
  • Philippians 2:1-2 ESV
     So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind.
  • 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17 ESV
    Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God our Father, who loved us and gave us eternal comfort and good hope through grace,
    17 comfort your hearts and establish them in every good work and word.