You brought us into prison and laid burdens on our backs.
You let people ride over our heads; we went through fire and water, but you brought us to a place of abundance. Psalm 66:11-12
The Psalm writer knows intimately the historical account of the Israelites in the land of Egypt. They were abused (and God allowed it). They were tested by God Himself. In the end, after walking in the desert for 40 years, they were ushered into the Promised Land – the place of abundance. They had manna and quail and water in the desert. That’s it. There was no abundance. They had been tested for those 40 years, and then He released them.
The takeaway to these verses is that there is hope in the midst of our testing. There is an end even though we may not see it.
When the Israelites walked around Mt. Sinai for the 97th time, do you think they thought there would be an end to the madness? No, they didn’t realize they had 37 more years to go! When you’re in the midst of turmoil and strife, you often cannot see the ending because you are only feeling the pain. It’s a minute to minute struggle.
Your pain is not in vain. You will be carried through to the end. It’s not wishful thinking, but God’s promise. What that looks like, however, is different than what your neighbor or relative endured. Your pain is unique and so is your reward for having endured.