SIMPLE TRUTHS ◽ ENCOURAGEMENT
In last month’s article, I shared situations from my past that have led to me creating a false image of who I am. They led me to believe I was unworthy, less than. Each of these situations happened in my life prior to my understanding of a true relationship with God, before I knew how to find purpose in pain. This is what the enemy wants. He wants to use our pain to cause to become angry with God and blame Him for our pain and suffering. Does that mean I cannot now find purpose in that pain? Not only do I say no, I say that I have already. I see it in the way that I deal with the people I interact with on a daily basis. There is in me this strong overwhelming need to make sure every person I interact with KNOWS that they are important and are valued. I know that desire was born out of the experiences I shared last month, the purpose in that pain that I endured as a young child.
Because I have learned to find purpose in my pain, God often provides me the opportunity to use my experiences to help others. A perfect example is my position on our church prayer team.
(photo courtesy of Doug Gephardt)
It just so happened that the Sunday I was writing this article, I was on the rotation. A young woman came up and shared that she had to end a relationship that she felt was not good for her. She also shared how she wanted to be able to continue to be in the young man’s life as a support and a friend. No one was in a better position to tell her the dangers of this way of thinking than I was. I looked her in the eye and told her that way of thinking was the reason I ended up being a single mother with twins. Talk about purpose in pain! I will continue to touch base with her and support her, to provide her support and prayer in way I did not receive.
The enemy wants to use our pain and suffering to steal, kill and destroy the natural relationship we are to have with our Heavenly Father. It is imperative that we recognize this and immediately press into the God and seek His truth. We should also know that some, if not most, purposes might not become apparent for many years to come. Or in the case of my experiences that made me feel unworthy, the purpose can become part of our character later to be discovered how it ties back to our pain.
We are not going to live this life without making decisions that do not align with the word of God. Some of these decisions lead to pain and suffering. We can take comfort that even in the times when there is pain and suffering we cause by not submitting to the will of God in our lives, Romans 8:28 shows us He will still allow us to find purpose in that pain.
We will not live this life without the choices of others impacting us or causing pain that can have long term ramifications. That’s okay IF we allow Him to show us the purpose that can come from the pain. He said He will prune us and in doing so there will times we will have to endure pain and suffering. He does not cause our pain and suffering, but He does allow it, and He can show us the purpose that can be gained from the pain. Instead of leaving us alone to endure and struggle alone, He has provided a way for our pain and suffering to strengthen us. If we trust Him, if we keep our hearts open to hear Him, he will guide us through the pain. And at the end of our journey, we will discover that who we are would not have been possible without the pain.
In order to do this, find the purpose in our pain, we have to make a choice. We have to decide if God’s word is true. If we choose to believe His word we joyfully take our pain and suffering to Him and we lay it at the foot of the cross. If we choose not to believe, then we take control and try to deal with it our own way. I do not know about you, but there has NOTHING that I have ever handled on my own that has turned out right.
God knows the pain and suffering was temporary when Jesus died on the cross. He wants to give us the same assurance in His word. Weeping may endure for the night, but joy comes in the morning. We need to know the weeping is not the endgame. The endgame is joy. It is embracing the purpose in the pain.
Because I know that what I endure can be used as I serve on the prayer team; every morning that I am to serve, I pray to God that anyone who comes to receive prayer will be someone meant to come to me. In so many instances these connections come via something that I have at some point gone through. In those times, I have leaned on God to help me endure and the lessons I have learned have been the basis for those I’ve had the honor to pray for: purpose in the pain.