God Wants Us to Remain Sober When in Pain
Be alert and of a sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of suffering. – 1 Peter 5:8-9
Have you ever been in such a painful place that you felt almost desperate to be out of that place? Sometimes pain, in and of itself, can make us think un-sobering thoughts. Thoughts, that we’d never think of if in a better place. That’s when we have to remember that our pain is momentary. It will not last forever. However, if we aren’t careful, we can make a decision that has lasting consequences.
This is why in the above scripture; God warns us to be sober and alert. Satan, our adversary is looking for an opportunity to devour us which means to destroy us. We should not aid Satan in his quest to destroy us. Instead, we should resist him.
Pain is necessary because it is a form of weakness. God already promises us that weakness is where we are guaranteed to see God’s power show up (2 Corinthians 12:9.) This means God’s got our back in pain. We will be tempted to return to vices during painful moments because of the immediate relief. We sometimes judge God not to be there with us because God often gives us the strength to endure rather than taking us out of our pain immediately. Enduring through the pain with God allows us to see his power at work sustaining us.
When tempted to return to vices for relief; we do not have to give in because God will help us through the pain. Instead of turning to a vice; turn to God and ask him to give you grace and strength to overcome regardless of the pain. God’s grace is his supernatural strength to overcome. It’s an empowerment of God’s Holy Spirit much like salvation. Salvation isn’t accomplished by our strength but by the power of God—so is overcoming sin.
So, he said to me, “This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the LORD Almighty. – Zechariah 4:6
God allows us to be stretched by our pain. It isn’t a bad thing. Our endurance increases allowing us to persevere. It also allows us to see our humanity and need to rest refreshing ourselves with stillness. We become even more humble in the process. Our humility precedes God’s favor (1 Peter 5:5-6.) This process of painful discomfort often occurs before God’s shift so we cannot give up. We will need to go through submitting to God’s process to experience the shift God has for us.
When we disobey God in the process of seeking out sin to numb our pain; we can delay the destination God has for us. King David was resting from war when he fell into a vice of his with a woman named Bathsheba.
King David was a man of war. So much so, that the temple he wanted to build for God in his heart was delayed for his son to build instead. He’d had too much blood on his hands from constant war. When we read of David’s indiscretion with Bathsheba—this took place during a time of rest.
He’d decided to rest from warring, which was his right. You may have heard people say that David fell into sin because he should have been at war. I beg to defer. David fell into sin because he chose to sin.
Sometimes, God calls us to rest. Especially when we’ve been overwhelmed with life. However, our flesh will cause us to say to ourselves—we deserve sin or something as a reward because we’ve done so much work. Instead of waiting for God to bring us out and promote us, we attempt to promote ourselves with whatever opportunity appears to present itself.
David sinned by sleeping with a married woman―Bathsheba. He went on to murder her husband and have a child with her. This sin set David up for future consequences that he had to endure. If we aren’t willing to endure the discomfort of waiting on the Lord’s deliverance in pain or discomfort now—we will later have to endure waiting on the Lord’s deliverance from pain and discomfort later while enduring the consequences of our actions.
Judgment was pronounced on King David as he was corrected by the prophet Nathan. Later in life, David is in the thick of things again as he lived out the consequences of his actions (2 Samuel 12:11.) This is where he learned to submit to the process of trusting God during discomfort and pain.
We see his willingness to endure the discomfort of a man cursing him while he has been forced from his kingdom by his son Absalom to run and hide for safety. He learned that it is important to rely on the Lord and endure seeing what the end will be. He also learned not to be selfish considering his son above himself—even though his son was against him.
Then Abishai son of Zeruiah said to the king, “Why should this dead dog curse my lord the king? Let me go over and cut off his head.”
But the king said, “What does this have to do with you, you sons of Zeruiah? If he is cursing because the Lord said to him, ‘Curse David,’ who can ask, ‘Why do you do this?’”
David then said to Abishai and all his officials, “My son, my own flesh and blood, is trying to kill me. How much more, then, this Benjamite! Leave him alone; let him curse, for the Lord has told him to. It may be that the Lord will look upon my misery and restore to me his covenant blessing instead of his curse today.”
So, David and his men continued along the road while Shimei was going along the hillside opposite him, cursing as he went and throwing stones at him and showering him with dirt. – 2 Samuel 16:9-13
Of course, in the end, God delivered him, and his kingdom was restored in peace. God will do the same for us if we remain sober while in pain and discomfort. Remember we do not have to choose sin or vices as an immediate escape from the pain. We can simply depend on the Lord asking him for his grace and supernatural strength to overcome the urge to sin as an escape.
There is a time and season to every purpose under the son including a time of discomfort and pain to produce God’s greater purpose within us. We should, like David, learn to submit to it waiting for the Lord to deliver. During, the wait, God’s given us tools we can use. Tools like prayer, godly community, his Word, rest, and counselors or therapists.
Sometimes we just need to walk alongside someone else to receive strength. If it requires rest and lightening up our plate—we should do those things instead of yielding to sin. We should follow the wisdom of the wise and God’s word to lighten our weight. See Ephesians 6 for a reminder of what to do when under pressure or a spiritual, mental, or emotional attack. We are called to be strong in the Lord—depending on the Lord and the power of his might.
We are commanded to use the tools in Ephesians 6:10-18 to stand when we cannot do anything else. With God’s tools, we can stand. God will lighten our load and provide clarity to us on how to proceed forward within his timing. We simply have to hold his promises close to our hearts remaining sober. God has a way out of the pain we face.
Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. – Matthew 11:28-29
This content is published by Russelyn Williams of Intercession for A Generation on https://intercession4ageneration.org/.For more encouraging content & books on “Life & Relationship Lessons from a Biblical & Practical Perspective” please visit https://russelynwilliams.com/.