Pain. We all have it in one form or another. For you it might be a chronic physical illness such as arthritis, fibromyalgia, or some other disease that leaves you feeling lousy all the time. For others, it could be the emotional and financial loss suffered when your company has downsized or outsourced your position. There are those who, because of their struggle with loss, depression, or simply the stress of everyday living, have turned to alcohol or drugs to medicate their pain.
Is it possible to find purpose in our pain? Is there something bigger than ourselves that can make our pain bearable, almost “worth it”? The Apostle Paul thought so. No stranger to the pain and imprisonment that accompanied his persecution as a follower of Christ, he penned these words:
Now I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel. As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ. Because of my chains, most of the brothers in the Lord have been encouraged to speak the word of God more courageously and fearlessly. — Philippians 1:12-14, NIV
I know a couple of women who have been battling cancer for years. I have watched them suffer the ravages of chemotherapy and radiation treatments, seen them lose and regrow their hair, and have been amazed at the radiance in their countenance as they have time and time again acknowledged the presence and power of God to comfort and heal them. Even though their faith has been tested because of their illness, the faith of countless others has been strengthened because of the way these faithful women of God have journeyed through the valley, giving testimony to God every step of the way.
God never said we would live without pain or loss. In fact, his Word tells that we will have trials in this life. But if we can allow God to work His purpose through our pain, then many will see and believe in the One who sustains and strengthens us in the midst of our suffering. Just when your pain becomes too much to bear, remember that Jesus suffered agonizing pain on the cross so that we might be forgiven from the sin that separated us from God and spend an eternity in heaven with him, where there is no pain.
The pain God has allowed to come into your life could be the very gift he uses to bring another soul into his kingdom.
Copyright © 2011 by Dee Dee Wike. All rights reserved. www.deedeewike.com