Over the past few months, I’ve found a lot of comfort through listening to Sovereign Grace Music‘s album Come Weary Saints. It’s an oldie but a goodie! Throughout some recent trials and difficulties in life, the album has reminded me to fix my eyes upon Christ and Him crucified, and to look upon my trials with a new lens–a perspective that seeks to honor and glorify God for who He is, even through the midst of life’s challenges.
Even though I was familiar with a number of tracks on the album, I didn’t hear some of them for the first time until a number of months ago. One such track was “Every Day“. I remember when the song first played in my car on the way to school. The chorus began:
Thank You for the trials
For the fire, for the pain
– Sovereign Grace Music, Every Day
I’m going to be honest–the first time I heard these lyrics, I chuckled to myself. This is outrageous! I thought. Saying thanks to God “for the pain”? Who does that?! The thought of someone thanking God for their pain seemed so humorous to me, because it’s so unnatural and unexpected.
Of course, by definition, pain is unpleasant and uncomfortable. Reasonable people would never wish pain or suffering upon themselves or those close to them. Most of us seek to live a life of comfort, free from the difficulties that bring us sorrow or distress. To welcome pain in our own lives is completely foreign to us, and it’s one of the last things that might cross our minds.
As the composers wrote these lyrics, I’m sure they didn’t wish for pain either. But when they encounter the inevitable distresses and discomforts of life, their response is a heart that is thankful to God. They worship and give glory to God out of appreciate for the trials that they experience.
Hearing the song for the first time, and considering my laughter in response to its absurdity, caused me to examine my own heart. Throughout most of my life, whenever I encountered trials and difficulties, my immediate response is: “This sucks”. I wish I could say that this is just a knee-jerk reaction that passes with time and prayer. But If I’m honest with myself, it doesn’t pass quickly at all. The sulking, anxiety, fear, worry, stress, disappointment and sorrow often last much, much longer than I’m willing to admit.
But the Scriptures offer so much more hope than that. The Word of God gives us reason to be thankful in our trials. The Bible gives us reason to praise when we encounter tribulations in this life.
Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
… we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.
It is good for me that I was afflicted,
That I may learn Your statutes.
For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison.
2 Corinthians 4:17
With so much to gain from the trials that God brings about in our lives, it’s no wonder that we can thank Him for the very events in our lives that bring us sorrow and distress. I’m still so far from being able to praise God and to give Him the glory He deserves for the difficulties He has ordained. I know that in my heart, I cannot say “thank You for the pain” with full conviction and appreciation for these trials. But by prayer and His grace, I hope that one day I could worship Him–even for the pain of this earthly life–as I look forward with great anticipation to the heavenly one.
In Your love, I know You allow what I cannot grasp to bring You praise.
– Sovereign Grace Music, Every Day