There's a young lady in Scripture who went through a time of great pain. Her name was Ruth. Her husband was killed in battle. In a moment, her life forever changed.
Ruth could have easily let that grief overwhelm her. She could have checked out of life saying, "God, it's just not fair." But even through her pain, Ruth stayed in the game. Her mother-in-law, Naomi, was already a widow and was about to move back to her hometown. Typically, the family would stay together, but Naomi said, "Ruth, you're a young woman. I'm an old lady. You've got a full life in front of you. Don't worry about me. Just go off and do your own thing."
Ruth said, "No, Naomi. I'm not going to leave you by yourself, especially when you're hurting. I'm going to go with you and take care of you." Even though Ruth was hurting, even though she was in pain, she reached out to somebody else who was hurting. Month after month, Ruth just kept taking care of Naomi, getting the food, serving her dinner, being her friend.
One day, Ruth was out in the field gathering wheat for the dinner when she met a man named Boaz. He was the owner of all the fields, the wealthiest man in that area. Long story short, they fell in love and got married. God blessed them with a baby boy named Obed. Obed had a son named Jesse. Jesse had a son named David. David, of course, went on to be the king of Israel, one of the greatest men who ever lived.
Ruth could have sat on the sidelines the rest of her life after her initial loss, but instead, she "played in pain." She was injured, but she kept doing the right thing. God had an "after this" for Ruth. After the loss, after the pain, God said, "I'll give you a great-grandson that will change the world."
You may be in pain today. You've suffered a loss, been through a disappointment. My message is, "That is not the end. God still has a plan." Don't sit on the sidelines of life. Don't let bitterness and discouragement set the tone for your future. God is saying, "Arise. Wipe away the tears and get back in the game." You may be injured, but dare to do like Ruth and play in pain. Have the attitude, "I'm hurting, but I'm still here. I'm disappointed, but I've still got a smile. They did me wrong, but I'm still giving God praise." Stay in the game. God has an "after this" waiting for you!" I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten…" (Joel 2:25, ESV).