By Alexis A. Goring, Crosswalk.com
“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” -Romans 8:18 ESV
A lyric in the song “Beautiful Day” by Jermaine Edwards made me think as the singer thanked God for pain. Yes, pain. Why would he thank Him for that? This thought was begging to be explored.
It took some research, but I delved into God’s Word and Bible-based resources online. I realized that God wants us to thank Him for the good and the bad because sometimes God uses pain to teach us something to help us grow. He knows it hurts, but He comforts us through it all. I remember watching a movie about a painter telling her student that shadows in their painting of a forest are just as important as the light from the sunshine.
Perhaps that statement and the memorable line in “Beautiful Day” teach us the same lesson. If we didn’t have tough times where all hope seems lost, then we wouldn’t know we can reach out to Jesus Christ, who will always bring us through our trials and tribulations. If we never knew the depths of pain, we’d never experience the heights of happiness when God provides purpose in our struggles. If we never experience rainy days, would we ever appreciate sunshine?
I’ve learned that there is purpose in difficulties. God can use them to humble us, teach us to rely on Him or help us relate better to those who are also hurting. A ministry called Nothing is Wasted offers a real-life illustration of how God can take your deepest pain and birth your greatest ministry that will draw people to their greatest hope which is in Jesus Christ (John 3:16). This ministry exists to help hurting people navigate their “trauma, tragedies, and major life transitions”. They teach people how to find purpose in their pain, encouraging them to know that with God, nothing—even our most profound pain—is wasted.
Davey Blackburn, founder of Nothing is Wasted, birthed this ministry out of his own tragedy and trauma. His first wife and their unborn baby were murdered in a home invasion while he was at the gym. After struggling through his trauma with God and trusted friends, Blackburn began to help others walk through their pain. One thing led to another and now he and his second wife have this wonderful ministry that teaches people about how God is still good even when life is bad. He doesn’t waste your pain. They’ve dedicated their lives to showing people how to find the purpose God has for them in their pain.
Here's what I see in that real-life story: Blackburn could have gotten angry at God and walked away from his faith in Him. But how can a good God allow bad things to happen to us, even when we’re serving Him well? Often, when pain enters our lives, we question the goodness of God. The more life hurts, we have more questions and deeper despair. But we can look back at places in our lives and see that God is good even when circumstances are not. We can see that if we trust God with our pain, He can turn it into a purpose that helps us heal and reach hearts for Jesus Christ. People are drawn to those who have been through tough times and survived. We find hope in their stories and we also see Jesus.
God uses our pain to draw us close to Him and teach us how to trust Him with our trauma. Then we can watch Him turn our mess into His message. We are given a testimony that helps people come to know the God who loves them, the One who restores. We’re never too broken to be put back together by Jesus and invited to participate in God’s great purpose.
I know this to be true in my own life too. I suffered a health crisis at age 16 that landed me in the hospital and made me miss several months of traditional school. From that season, God birthed a devotional writing ministry during my recovery. To this day, I see that it was as if God, the Master Teacher, enrolled me in His school and taught me many life lessons in His spiritual classroom. He then inspired me to write those lessons in the form of devotionals and share them with the world. I get to do what I love best: share His words for those who need the hope only found in a relationship with Jesus Christ. I am so grateful!
Remember that there is purpose for your pain. Seek God for what you need. He will never fail you.
Let’s Pray: Dear God, thank You for pain. Help us to appreciate the sunshine that comes after the rain. Help us to remember that difficulties have a purpose and You can work out all things for our good. Please help us to trust You through the deep valleys in life, knowing that You are walking with us. Thank You for promising to not leave us alone in our pain but to instead, put us on the path to restoration. You are a good God. We love You, Lord. In Jesus’s Name, I pray. Amen.
Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/AaronAmat
Alexis A. Goring is an author, blogger, editor, photographer, trained journalist, and total foodie. She specializes in Contemporary Christian Romance (fiction) and devotionals (nonfiction). Her first devotional book, Stories and Songs of Faith: My Journey with God, was published in April 2020. Alexis hopes that her life’s work will lead people to Jesus Christ and teach them about the God who loves humankind with all of His heart. When she’s not sharing words that inspire and encourage the heart, you can find her in the kitchen cooking up something tasty, or in a café or restaurant, either dining solo or sharing a meal with loved ones. Connect with Alexis online via her website (https://alexisagoring.