I’ll never forget the moment when someone said words intended to ease pain, but instead it felt more painful.
In the thick of my hard place, when I was unsure how we would survive this journey and I couldn’t possibly fathom why my God would allow my child to suffer so intensely, a good friend said to me, “But just think, God is using you for His glory.”
In that moment, I simply shook my head and agreed but what I felt welling up inside me was something much different.
Quite frankly, I thought, I don’t want to be used. Not if it means this.
Quite frankly, He can use someone else because this—THIS is not working for me.
It felt as if I was simply a pawn in a game of chess, and my earth-shattering heartbreak mattered not to Him.
I wondered what good thing could possibly come of this journey? What good thing could come of her struggle?
Initially, this pain was my excuse to not live purposefully at all.
And for a long time I couldn’t quite figure it out, or perhaps I didn’t want to. But as I yelled at God in rage, as I questioned Him in frustration, as I sobbed to Him in sorrow—I found He began to slowly change my mind set.
You see, pain and sorrow and illness are all a result of this broken world we live in.
This journey is our reality. Nothing I personally can do will ever change that. And so, if I must walk this road, if my child must struggle, if I must endure hard things—let it not be in vain.
I came to a place where I recognized I WANTED to be used. God, if we must experience this pain, give this pain some purpose.
And as I’ve searched for purpose, I found this verse to be helpful:
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-4
How can my pain have purpose?
Your experience changes you. As people walk through the fire of hardship, they are changed. Either it causes them to grow bitter or it makes them even better. I hope that for me it’s the latter. My experience has caused me to be more empathetic, more apt to take action in helping others, more understanding. I find myself offering more grace, checking on my friends more often, and praying for others more frequently.
Because I understand first hand the difference that it makes.
Hard experience often impact our view of God as well. Although this journey has made me question Him and be frustrated and mad and all the emotions one could possibly have—it has also made me recognize His great love for me. I have experienced His presence more tenderly. He has been more real because I NEEDED Him in a way I had not previously. And, I’ve learned to see Him even in the really hard places of life.
SO Now what?
Now, we “comfort others as we have been comforted.”
Now, we share God with the hurting.
Now, we offer encouragement to the broken.
Now, we vulnerably walk this road with others so that they know they aren’t alone.
And now, our pain has purpose. Eternal purpose through Jesus Christ.
And though we may never fully understand the pain we walk through in this world, we make a choice to cling to hope rather than to release it.
I don’t think I’ll ever thank God for this specific journey, but I do thank Him for the ways it has changed my heart—the ways it has encouraged the faith of others.
How has God used your pain for His purpose? We’d love to hear your story!