YOUR PAIN HAS A PURPOSE
Always remember – God will use any difficulty we face and pain we experience to produce fruit in us that is valuable and to create a future filled with purpose and hope.
There are many moments in life when we can look at our circumstances and lose heart. Things go wrong, our burdens increase, adversity strikes, and we face devastating loss. In these times, we can’t help but think, Life will only get worse from here.
In the past few weeks, we’ve been examining the thoughts that keep us fearful and discouraged:
“I am all alone. No one is going to help me.”
“This is happening because God doesn’t love me. I’m too flawed, too damaged, and He’s rejected me.”
“The economy is failing. I am going to be left with nothing.”
In moments like these, it’s necessary to challenge the profoundly devastating thought that can creep in:
“I have no future—I’m trapped.”
Though it’s true we’ll continue to fight some battles throughout our entire lives, we make a terrible mistake when we look at our circumstances and think, Things will never change. The future only holds heartache and defeat. This is especially true when our trials persist, and it seems as if all of our prayers are met with closed doors. Like David, we may cry out, “How long, O Lord? Will You forget me forever?” (Psalm 13:1). There’s nothing more discouraging than being convinced a difficult situation cannot or will not improve.
Such a faulty assumption usually arises from a wrong view about God’s character or His ability to help us. Either we perceive Him as a cruel taskmaster who delights in our sorrows, or we see ourselves so broken that we deserve no better. I can assure you that disheartenment and defeat are never God’s will for His people. In Lamentations 3:32-33, we’re taught: “If He causes grief, then He will have compassion according to His abundant lovingkindness. For He does not afflict willingly or grieve the sons of men.”
Think about that carefully: The Father does not willingly cause us heartache. Yes, sometimes He’ll allow the pain of heartache to release us from the bondage of sin or to prevent us from experiencing terrible suffering later on. Like a surgeon removing cancerous growths, the Lord touches our lives at times in ways that may be painful, but it’s worth the price to remove whatever is harming us.
God also allows adversity to teach us to serve Him and to be more like Him. When we endure trials that equip us for more effective service to Him, we must think of ourselves as spiritual athletes in training (1 Cor. 9:23-25; 2 Tim. 2:5). The Father exercises our faith, perseverance, and hope—the spiritual muscles that enable us to “run with endurance the race that is set before us” (Heb. 12:1). We may feel as if we’ll break under the pressure. But in the long run, we’re becoming far stronger as His people.
The good news is that this training won’t go on forever. The dark moments of our lives will last only so long as is necessary for the Father to accomplish His purposes in us. In other words, God establishes boundaries for the heartache and pain you experience. He knows what you can handle and what you need. And your heavenly Father is well aware of your limits. So don’t be discouraged. Instead, take heart. What God is producing in you is both extremely valuable and eternal (2 Cor. 4:16-18).
The challenging season you’re in will last only so long as is necessary for God to accomplish His good purposes. Be assured: You can endure. You will overcome. How? By turning to your Savior often in prayer and spending time with Him in His Word. Whenever you feel weak, go to His throne of grace and find the strength you need—even if it’s every few minutes. He will sustain you. He wants to teach you His ways, build His character in you, and grow your faith. Rely on Him.
Friend, don’t give up … the pain you’re feeling will end. You will prevail over this difficulty, and your circumstances will change. Look to God to strengthen and uphold you as He works out His good purposes. And always resist the lie, “I have no future—I’m trapped.”
Fight that lie with the truth:
Let all who take refuge in You be glad, let them ever sing for joy; and may You shelter them, that those who love Your name may exult in You. For it is You who blesses the righteous man, O Lord, You surround him with favor as with a shield. —Psalm 5:11-12
They confronted me in the day of my calamity, but the Lord was my stay. He brought me forth also into a broad place; He rescued me, because He delighted in me. —Psalm 18:18-19
They trusted and You delivered them. To You they cried out and were delivered; in You they trusted and were not disappointed. —Psalm 22:4-5
Who is the man who fears the LORD? He will instruct him in the way he should choose. —Psalm 25:12
I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and let your heart take courage; yes, wait for the Lord. —Psalm 27:13-14
“I know the plans that I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.”—Jeremiah 29:11
Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. —1 Corinthians 15:57
Thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place. —2 Corinthians 2:14
We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. —2 Corinthians 4:8-10
After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you. —1 Peter 5:10
Do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised. For yet in a very little while, He who is coming will come, and will not delay. But My righteous one shall live by faith; and if he shrinks back, My soul has no pleasure in him. But we are not of those who shrink back to destruction, but of those who have faith to the preserving of the soul. —Hebrews 10:35-39