Deacon Steven D. Greydanus tells the story of St Teresa. “She was traveling from Avila to Burgos. It was winter, and her health was bad. On the road she developed a fever; her throat was badly inflamed. The roads were terrible: snow, icy winds. At one point the road was completely covered in flood waters from nearby rivers swollen with snow. The carriage wasn’t safe, so Teresa got out and began wading through the flood waters. But the current was so strong that she was swept off her feet and almost carried away.
“Oh my Lord,” Teresa cried desperately, “when will you stop scattering obstacles in our path?” And the Lord answered her, “Do not complain, daughter, for it is ever thus that I treat my friends.” And that’s when Teresa gave her famous response: “Ah, Lord, and that is also why you have so few!”
Job said, “The Lord has come and taken them away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.” Like Job, I had no idea how to become a “friend of God.”
Salvation by Pain is God’s way for some of us. It saves us from the world of “I”. God loves us so much, He gave His only Son to save us from our sin and give us eternal life. My translation, “God loves so much that He takes away everything dear to us so we might be saved.”
As far as the looks department, the only thing I had going for me is was my head of hair. In my mind, my hair was legendary. One of the reasons my mom was drawn to my dad because of his dad’s amazing hair. What does God do?
God sends alopecia. The unknown devourer of all things related to hair. Jesus says, “God knows the number of hairs on your head.” In my case, God job isn’t too miraculous: zero hairs. For me, losing my hair is like losing a loved one.
But alopecia is not like having cancer or heart disease. So, God sends thyroid cancer, kidney, and heart disease to name a few of the hundreds of “salvation by pain” experiences.
God is saving me through PAIN. Here is God’s promise to US:
When the Lord comes and takes away _____, it ends up being the best season of your life. Job discovered this too (cf. Job 42:1-6):
“I know that You can do everything,
And that no purpose of Yours can be withheld from You.
3 You asked, ‘Who is this who hides counsel without knowledge?’
Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand,
Things too wonderful for me, which I did not know.
4 Listen, please, and let me speak;
You said, ‘I will question you, and you shall answer Me.’
5 “I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear,
But now my eye sees You.
6 Therefore I abhor myself,
And repent in dust and ashes.”
If you are like me and my superhero is Job, The season of repentance is 100 times better than a season of prosperity.