I have read many biographies of missionaries, ranging from contemporary times to ancient history. You would think these precious people, so used of God, would have stories of constant love, power and joy. Not so. Their stories are marked by heartache, discouragement, even treachery — stories not of adventure but of tears.
If we are genuine in our desire to know the forces that produce godliness, we must go to the Garden of Gethsemane, to Jesus, our example. All the forces that opposed Job were also there at Gethsemane, arrayed against Christ. Likewise, the fierce tempter who sought out David’s heart on the rooftop is the same tempter who sought out Jesus on the temple pinnacle to destroy him. And all the forces of torment that plagued Peter’s soul were also at Gethsemane, battling with our Savior.
To every true man or woman of God there will come a cup of pain. Jesus’ entire ministry had been doing the will of his Father. Indeed, for three years everything he did pointed toward Calvary. Now, at Gethsemane, He cried out in effect, “Oh, God, if it is possible at all, relieve me of this burden. It’s too heavy for me. I would rather let it pass.”
I don’t know what your cup of pain may be. Some Christians have prayed for years to be delivered from theirs. Make no mistake, I believe in healing. Yet I also believe in healing afflictions. David testified, “Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now I keep your word” (Psalm 119:67).
We cannot let ourselves think that every pain or trial is an attack of the devil. Nor can we think that these trials mean we have sin in our lives and that God is judging us. David tells us differently. If he had not been afflicted, he would not have sought the Lord.