For the Lord will not cast off forever, but, though he cause grief, he will have compassion according to the abundance of his steadfast love; for he does not afflict from his heart or grieve the children of men. (Lamentations 3:31-33)
Feelings of rejection may accompany loss. Sometimes you may even think God has set his heart against you. But “the Lord will not cast off forever” those who belong to him, even when his holiness and dedication to your growth in faith and godliness activate his fatherly discipline.
According to Lamentations 1:5, it was the Lord who afflicted Judah “for the multitude of her transgressions.” But God did not simply chastise her, and then cast her away. In humbling Judah, he also reminded her of his great faithfulness, mercy, and promise of future restoration. In essence, the Lord said, “Remember, I love you. But I am bringing this pain into your life because I want the best for you, because I want to change you. Submit your will to me. Learn and grow.”
This serves to remind us that there are times in which grief and loss enter our lives as the result of our sinful choices. Not always, of course, as pain and suffering are an unfortunate part of living in this fallen world, and “many are the afflictions of the righteous” (Psalm 34:19).
The Bible does not support the idea that all personal suffering is the consequence of personal sin. Nevertheless, we will not be biblically-balanced in our thinking if we fail to acknowledge that sometimes we reap what we sow. Still, when this is the case, Scripture assures us that God “does not afflict from his heart or grieve the children of men.”
God does not take pleasure in your pain.
He does not delight to grieve you, but he desires for you to walk closely with him, in the path of blessing. And this desire is greater and more valuable than an easy or pain-free life.
If you have repented of your sin, and trust in Jesus as your sin-atoning Lord and Savior, then God has already punished your sins (1 John 2:2). As a result, the punishing Judge is now your disciplining Father. Therefore, God will allow pain and sorrow as temporary means to bring you back to pleasant fellowship, and train you in righteousness (Hebrews 12:3-11). But when he does so, Jeremiah says, he will also have “compassion according to the abundance of his steadfast love.” God will never default on any of his promises, or act outside his integrity and character. You can be sure of that.
Pain is an effective teacher. So much so, that, when you come out on the other side you will affirm the psalmist’s testimony:
“I know, O Lord, that your rules are righteous,
and that in faithfulness you have afflicted me.” (Psalm 119:75)