I was reminded again this weekend of the power found in our story. God is able to take and redeem the most difficult of experiences and situations and bring about something beautiful amidst the pain. If you have experienced pain, loss, disappointment – that experience is not void of purpose. Understanding the journey of pain wont solve your pressure in this moment. It will perhaps reveal something of God’s leading in your life and how God might use you down the road.
There seems to be a process to our pain: Pain – Sadness – Comfort – Redemption. Each of these have a season where they become prominent in our lives. Knowing the process of pain does not make suffering any easier. It simply gives vision for what is to come.
Pain is the first and most obvious stage in the process. Whether it comes in the form of trauma or loss, physical or emotional, we are keenly aware when pain is introduced into our story.
The transition from pain to sadness is subtle. It is not marked by a moment as much as an awareness of new feelings. In the transition from pain to sadness it is natural to cry out to God, yell at God, curse at God. Under the weight of sadness, we often take a posture of questioning; we desire some level of logic to explain our experience.
This is when we ask things like, “why do bad things happen to good people?” or “what did I do to deserve this?” I am not saying this is mature or the right thing to do, but it is what we naturally do as we seek to understand our situation. Sadness will not last forever, though in the moment it sure feels like our sadness will be eternal.
Eventually sadness gives way to comfort. In possibly the greatest sermon ever given Jesus told the crowd, “blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” The comfort of God is other-worldly. It transcends all understanding. There is no logical reason for us to experience comfort when all external evidence points to internal sadness. God’s grace to us in the process of our pain is that there is comfort available to us which is as tangible as the sadness we feel.
Eventually we arrive at the final stage in our pain process – it is in redemption that we begin to experience and understand a purpose in our pain. When we walk through the process of redemption we begin to understand what God meant when He said, “My power is made perfect in weakness.”
We could never comprehend in our moment of pain that it will eventually be a key that unlocks doors for the sake of others. (Click to tweet) Our pain has great purpose. It helps us relate to a broken and hurting world. It breaks through the dividing lines of race, politics, socio-economic standing and anything else that would divide.
I had no idea how the pain of my early years would be a tool for God’s future work through me. When it comes to your pain – I cannot begin to guess the ways God will use your pain to shape your future journey. What I do know is this – you have a loving Father in Heaven who does not allow anything to happen to you without first passing it through His filter of love. (Click to tweet)
Pain in your life has been allowed for a reason. Trust God to use your pain as a tool of redemption and restoration for others.