“Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.”
–Psalm 35
The pastor stroked his chin and looked directly at a young woman he had never seen, as she walked through the door.
“What brings you into my office today?” he asked.
“It’s a long story, and I don’t know where to begin. The real reason I’m here isn’t to ask you a question, but to give you notice.”
“I’ve got time. Why don’t you start at the beginning?”
“Okay,” she said, defiantly plopping herself down in a chair.
“Your God wasn’t there in my grief,” she began.
“Please explain your situation,” the pastor answered gently.
“I went from being a spoiled child to my husband’s caregiver, and staying by his bedside day and night. But it seemed I could do nothing right,” she wept, “and he only grew worse. He ate less and less, and he was just wasting away.
“I’d heard about your God ever since I was a child, but I never felt like I needed or wanted Him in my life. I began to party more and more often, and I moved even further away, seeing how nonsensical God really was as I grew older.
“I met my husband at one of those parties, and he was always the picture of health and vitality. But when he became ill, I started praying. In spite of my convictions, I found myself pleading with a God that I didn’t believe in to have mercy on my husband. But of course those prayers were useless, and he died anyway. While he lay on his death-bed, I made a vow never to seek your God anymore, no matter what I was going through.
“But here’s my real point. I was flipping through the TV channels yesterday, and I heard you talking about this supposed God who loves everybody. Now if you’re honest, you know that is just not true, and I am here to give you warning that starting today, I will fight with everything I have to get you taken off the air.”

Please notice the progression in this story with me. Before this pampered woman was married, she knew about a God who she never made her own. Durring her husband’s illness she cried out to that God for mercy, but she never came into a relationship with Him. When her husband died one extremely painful day, she felt that God had turned a deaf ear to her. Then she turned away altogether, jumping to the conclusion that this God she didn’t know wasn’t real.
Like the woman in the above story, we are all prone to try using or manipulating God, and when the outcome isn’t desirable to our way of thinking, we often harden our hearts against Him. This, in turn, can lead to building walls of resentment.
Since we are all in danger of this, the woman’s story provides us with something we all need to watch out for. King Solomon said it best in the book of Proverbs, when he admonished us to guard our hearts with all diligence.
However, it is not enough to examine the progression I alluded to above, because it can cause an extremely subtle shift. When our fallen nature cries for its own way, human selfishness acts as a kind of mortar, cementing the bricks of hardheartedness into place. When this happens, we can gradually build walls which appear to be impenetrable if we’re not careful.
God is calling all of us to come to Him in times of trial. He is not a God who is removed or isolated from us. He feels our grief and pain deeply. His desire is to strengthen and comfort you, so here are three suggestions to help you find that comfort.
Instead of building walls and pushing Him away, God wants each of us to make Him our all in all. Let your pain act as a catalyst, wooing you towards Him, by telling Him everything that is in your heart. His desire is that you allow Him to build His character in you, leading you in paths of peace.
Then, after you’ve had a long talk with Him, look up scriptures dealing with God’s compassion and mercy, since the Bible is His primary means of speaking to us. Even when it seems like something bad has happened, focus on the way that Jesus dealt with pain, and let His love begin to lift you above it.
Find Christian brothers and sisters that you can share your pain with, letting them help you refocus on the One who bore our pain. Perhaps you can do this best, though, by asking God for one special friend, who will share the journey with you.
Lastly, we return to the idea of letting God build His character in us. Lose yourself in service, with the knowledge that you will truly find yourself by sharing with others. In His Word, God has told us to comfort others with the comfort He has given us.
Today’s opening scripture says that sorrow may last for a night, but joy will come in the morning. You might be in pain now, but that pain won’t last forever. Look for the morning by looking up to God, and let the dawning of a new day rise in your heart.
Thank you for reading this, and may the Lord give you a wonderful week! We are trying to reach people who are hurting, so if God lays it on your heart, please consider becoming a partner with us. If you would like to make a donation, please visit www.hcmachaplains.org and click on the Donate Now link. You can also send donations by mail to HCMA (Healthcare Chaplains Ministry Association). Our ID number is 560. The address is 101 S Kraemer BLVD, Suite 123A, Placentia, CA 92870.
Finally, you’re always welcome to join our Tuesday night Bible study. These studies are conducted by conference call, and they take place at 6:30 PM Arizona time. Our conference number is 313-209-8800. Our PIN is 8699032. We hope to talk with you soon!
If you have questions, comments or prayer requests for Timothy or Stephanie Burdick, please call 507-369-6861.