Citrusdal | Clanwilliam | Graafwater | Kompas Gemeente Vredendal | Somerset-Wes

How to Redeem Your Pain through the Living Word. 

None of us are exempt from pain: we all endure the agony of losing a loved one, the sudden onset of illness and disease, or economic hardships due to someone else’s corruption or lies. At times, each of us may experience more pain than others, leaving us feeling fragile and broken inside.

We’re a culture that can’t sit with pain, so we numb it. But the problem is pain doesn’t vanish until we face and feel it. If we don’t, it always comes back amplified.


In my own case, I try to numb the pain by just working harder, forgetting that it exists. Others use pain-killers, and all kinds of chemical substances. Some act out by isolating themselves, retracting into timidity and fear. The truth is: You have to WORK through your pain! You have to face the pain with God until He works Christlikeness in your heart.

Joseph’s journey from innocent (but a bit spoiled young man) to slave and from manager to humiliated prisoner teaches us an invaluable lesson.  He learned to rise time and again, eventually becoming the head of Potiphar’s household, the chief of the prison. Finally, becoming the second-in-command of the mighty, pagan Egyptian empire.

How To Redeem Pain?

Pain is inevitable, but like Joseph, the capacity for resilience and redemption lies within us. Joseph’s story is not just a tale of suffering but a testament to the power of faith and perseverance in the face of adversity. It reminds us that our most challenging moments can lead to our greatest achievements when we trust in a purpose greater than our circumstances.

Assert the Word Not Circumstances

He sent a man before them—

Joseph—who was sold as a slave.

They hurt his feet with fetters,

He was laid in irons. (Literally: His soul came into iron)

Until the time that his word came to pass,

The word of the LORD tested him. (Ps 105:18-19)

In difficult circumstances, we all feel the weight of doubts filling our souls with inner self-talk: “Did God really say? Why me? I’m better dead; why am I alive?” Our biggest battle is, therefore, not the circumstances we face, but knowing what we believe.  What do we believe about God? What do we believe about ourselves? What do we believe about others?

This is where our soul must become “hard as IRON”! Instead of self-doubt, self-pity, condemnation, and shame, we believe what God is saying about us.  In the same way iron, silver and gold is formed in the furnace, so our hearts are purified in the presence of God. Only in His presence, can we see ourselves rightly, and allow Him to remove all the impurities.

“The Word of the Lord tested him” This sentence is so interesting. We think it is the devil testing us, but it is God testing us whether we remain trusting His Word.  

When he was a boy, he received dreams and a word from the Lord: states: Now Joseph had a dream, and he told it to his brothers; and they hated him even more. So he said to them, “Please hear this dream which I have dreamed: There we were, binding sheaves in the field. Then behold, my sheaf arose and also stood upright; and indeed your sheaves stood all around and bowed down to my sheaf.”

And his brothers said to him, “Shall you indeed reign over us? Or shall you indeed have dominion over us?” So they hated him even more for his dreams and for his words.

Then he dreamed still another dream and told it to his brothers, and said, “Look, I have dreamed another dream. And this time, the sun, the moon, and the eleven stars bowed down to me.” (Genesis 37:5-7) (NIV)

I imagine Joseph lying on the dusty stone floor o fa prison, thinking about these dreams. Maybe even getting angry at God, asking: “Why have you given me these dreams?”; “This is your fault that my brothers hate me, and now here I am…”  

Can you see that he first had to come to terms with either believing or denying this Word of the Lord?  Healing comes when the lies and deceptions of our heart is revealed against the light of His word.

“The heart is deceitful above all things,
And desperately wicked;
Who can know it?
I, the LORD, search the heart,
I test the mind,
Even to give every man according to his ways,
According to the fruit of his doings.
(Jer 17:9)

Work Through Offence

If doubt is our first enemy, taking offence is our second biggest enemy. Joseph had to forgive many protagonists in his life: his brothers, Potiphar’s wife (Gen 39:14-16), and the Cupbearer (Gen 40:23).  

When Joseph finally revealed himself to his brothers, he said, “You meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive…” (Genesis 50:20). 

Remaining bitter and resentful at the ones who caused you harm holds you as their prisoner.  You drink the poison meant for them.  Most people are unaware that they have hurt you unless you confront them (Luk 17:1-5). Most will never rebuke those who transgressed against them. Hence, the enemy gains a foothold of secret resentment. Unresolved anger builds up in the heart, disproportionate to the initial event of wrongdoing, and escalates to become a stronghold holding you prisoner. The case of transgression is mostly never challenged, and therefore, the offender never gets to change. He or she doesn’t get to state their side of the story, possibly even providing reasons or intents of the heart. And so, it becomes like weights or rocks bound to the feet dragging us down.

You have only two options: Forgive or Confront.

Remain In God’s presence and His Favor 

Joseph had some innate blessings and privileges. “Now Joseph was handsome in form and appearance.”(Gen 39:6b). He surely came from privilege and hence had some nobility in his character, voice, posture, mannerisms, and possibly some advanced skills.  But these things mean nothing when you’re a slave or in prison. There, they work against you.  

The key to his rising out of the dust was not his appearance, fame, or privilege.  “He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap, to make them sit with princes, with the princes of his people.” (Psalm 113:7-8, ESV) Remaining full of the Spirit, bearing the fruit of the Spirit, is what gives you favor! Like roses trampled under people’s feet, they release their captivating fragrance, so our righteous fruits in Christ give off a scent of life.  For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life. Who is sufficient for these things?” (2 Corinthians 2:14-16, ESV) 

Dwelling in the past, contemplating regrets, indulging in self-pity, and embalming your hurts and scars give off a smell of death.  Your interactions with all people are to try to make them feel guilty for your bad circumstances.  Your sentences have a bite of bitterness and the pepper of entitlement.  You say you “seek justice”, but it is the revenge you are after.  Your attention is on people, not God. Secretly, you are hoping someone will feel sorry for you and come and carry you away, making everything better.  The wrongdoers should be punished! Surely, scripture says all will be judged by their works, motives and intentions of their hearts.  (Matthew 12:36-37, Matthew 16:27, Romans 2:6-8, 1 Corinthians 4:5, 2 Corinthians 5:10, Revelation 20:12, Revelation 22:12, Proverbs 21:2, Ecclesiastes 12:14, Jeremiah 17:10) But that means you also will be judged!  

People who have forgiven their trespassers have an air of freedom and liberty about them. They have a pleasant and lively spirit, joy in the Spirit, and real peace, not false peace.  

Recently, my wife, Chantál, had to go through one of the most difficult trials of her faith when both her parents, whom she deeply and affectionately loved, were slowly deteriorating before our eyes with much pain and difficulty.  When they finally passed away within three months from each other, we rejoiced that their liberty arrived, but there was the mourning their absence brought.  This was a long and arduous time of feeling joy and deep sadness at the same time. Sorrowful, yet rejoicing.

As she journeyed with the Lord through this most painful period, the Lord spoke to her affectionately, yet sternly.  “Stop looking for life-giving things amongst the dead of the past!” 

His presence only knows LIFE; there is no death in His presence! One cannot take the corpses of the past into his presence! When in His presence, there is also no more pain or tears!! “‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” (Revelation 21:4)40 ]

This in no way to ignore pain.  Pain is real.  Like Sam Mc Cabe sings, “You cannot praise away the mourning” [1]

Can’t praise away the mourning

You gotta let it have its way

You’re never gonna grow if you don’t stand out in the rain

And that wound is gonna fester

If you try to hide it with a smile Your prayer might make it better

But it’s gonna take a while

And how you gonna rest if you don’t ever stop?

What becomes your refuge is what becomes your god

You could tow the line of looking fine And you’ll fine yourself unknown

You’ve gotta let your weakness show

You can’t live the resurrection if you avoid the grave

A faith that don’t reach down and a faith that can save

But there’s freedom in surrender when you give up the ghost

You’ll never sit at the table while you’re tryna be the host

And when you’re wrestling with the angel

You better wait for the sun

And you don’t walk with a limp yet

Then the Father isn’t done

There’s still time till morning light For you to lay your burdens down 

And see your weakness as your crown

I am not saying ignore the pain; I’m asking that we work with Him through it. Eventually, He will use the pain to become the jewels of His glory! 

God’s Presence Regarded Joseph

“And the patriarchs, becoming envious, sold Joseph into Egypt. But God was with him and delivered him out of all his troubles, and gave him favor and wisdom in the presence of Pharaoh, king of Egypt; and he made him governor over Egypt and all his house.  (Acts 7:9-10) 

“The Lord was with Joseph, and he became a successful man, and he was in the house of his Egyptian master. His master saw that the Lord was with him and that the Lord caused all that he did to succeed in his hands. So Joseph found favor in his sight and attended him, and he made him overseer of his house and put him in charge of all that he had.” (Genesis 39:2-4, ESV)

“But the Lord was with Joseph and showed him steadfast love and gave him favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison. And the keeper of the prison put Joseph in charge of all the prisoners who were in the prison. Whatever was done there, he was the one who did it.” (Genesis 39:21-22, ESV)

“The proposal pleased Pharaoh and all his servants. And Pharaoh said to his servants, ‘Can we find a man like this, in whom is the spirit of God?’ Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, ‘Since God has shown you all this, there is none so discerning and wise as you are. You shall be over my house, and all my people shall order themselves as you command. Only as regards the throne will I be greater than you.’ And Pharaoh said to Joseph, ‘See, I have set you over all the land of Egypt.'” (Genesis 41:37-41, ESV)