None of us want to experience painful times in life. In fact, our natural tendency to avoid pain goes back to our childhood. When we are babies and something is bothering us, we scream and cry until someone who cares for us comes and fixes the problem. As we grow up, we find other ways to protect ourselves from pain. While our methods might change, the goal is the same: don’t get hurt.
While we seek to avoid pain, it’s important to understand two things:
1: There will be times where we experience hurt (John 16:33)
2: Your pain has a divine purpose.
That second fact about pain doesn’t mean that God wants us to experience pain. Instead, it means that He is capable of using our worst moments to benefit us. Most of us have asked the age-old question, “why do bad things happen to good people?” While there is never a time that we want to experience things that we consider “bad,” God is more than capable of using those for our good (Romans 8:28). Understanding how to find a purpose in your pain puts you in a position to better experience God’s presence, provision and power.
If you’re wondering what the purpose of your pain is, keep reading. We will dive into God’s Word to find the answers to that question.
Pain Changes You
“I’m just not strong enough to handle this.” At some point in time, all of us have made that statement. Whether it was the loss of a loved one, uncertainty at work, difficulties in a marriage or any other number of problems, all of us have doubted our ability to endure what we’re facing. Take a look at what the half-brother of Jesus wrote about the tests that we face in life.
James 1:2-4 (TPT)
My fellow believers, when it seems as though you are facing nothing but difficulties, see it as an invaluable opportunity to experience the greatest joy that you can! For you know that when your faith is tested it stirs up power within you to endure all things. And then as your endurance grows even stronger it will release perfection into every part of your being until there is nothing missing and nothing lacking.
According to James, when we view our pain as a positive thing, it begins to change us. The pain that we go through builds endurance. That means that when we don’t give up in the middle of pain, we receive the strength necessary to face anything that may come against us in our lives. Additionally, when we embrace this level of endurance that comes from gaining the proper perspective, James says that we will live lives where “nothing is missing or lacking. “
Pain changes you, but if you approach it from the proper perspective, it can change you for the better.
Pain Produces Unity
1 Corinthians 12:26 (TPT)
In that way, whatever happens to one member happens to all. If one suffers, everyone suffers. If one is honored, everyone rejoices.
The human body, when healthy, is a perfectly wired together system of nerves, tendons, muscles and more. Have you ever hit your finger with a hammer? Perhaps you’ve got up in the middle of the night and tried to make your way through a dark room which inevitably ends in you stubbing your toe on a piece of furniture. In both of those cases, the pain isn’t just limited to your injured digit. Instead, you feel a tingling, painful, throbbing sensation throughout your body. For most of us, either one of those accidents also involves jumping around. Why does pain in something as small as a toe radiate throughout the body? Because when one member hurts, all members hurt.
That is the same way that Paul described unity in the Body of Christ. When a brother or sister in Christ is in pain, other members are supposed to be so empathetic that they feel the pain as well. In the same vein, when one member enjoys a moment of personal triumph, we’re all called to share in that victory.
While the natural reaction to pain is to recoil, that Godly response is to lean on your family in Christ and allow them to minister to you in your darkest moments. When you reach the point where you can share your pain with others, the load becomes lighter. It’s possible that someone close to you has gone through a similar circumstance. God’s design for His people is to be unified. While pain can push us into a place of isolation,
Pain Produces Positivity
1 Thessalonians 5:18 (TPT)
And in the midst of everything be always giving thanks, for this is God’s perfect plan for you in Christ Jesus.
Giving thanks in the middle of a painful time in life seems counterintuitive. We can thank God when everything is going the way we want it to. When we aren’t experiencing problems or the pain associated with them, it’s easy to thank God. However, Paul didn’t say that we should wait until things are going according to our plan to give thanks. Instead, he said “in the midst of everything, be always giving thanks.”
How can pain push you into a place of thanksgiving? That process begins with a change in perspective. Remember what James said? To be thankful for the trials that we face. When we are thankful for the opportunity to develop our endurance, we can then be thankful for God’s presence and provision in the middle of our painful moments.
When you have gone through one trying time and survived it, you’re more prepared to go through another trying time. That first trial may have felt like it was more than you could handle. You may have believed that you would never make it out of the thing that you were facing. However, you did! Armed with that knowledge, you can spend time in your second problem being thankful that the first pain didn’t kill you. That means that this one won’t either.
It goes against everything that we think to believe that pain can cause us to be thankful, but God’s purpose for our pain causes us to find something to praise Him for in the middle of it. It’s not always easy. In fact, it takes a lot of work to find a way to be thankful when you’re hurting. However, pain produces praise. When you’re hurting and you feel the comforting power of the Holy Spirit at work in your life, you can thank God for that. When the pain finally ends and you realize how beautifully God orchestrated everything, you can thank Him for that.
If you are facing a painful situation in your life, take heart. God has a purpose for it. No, that doesn’t mean that He caused your pain. It simply means that He is able to take the most painful moments that you will ever experience and provide beauty in exchange for ashes (Isaiah 61:3). Being thankful wont’ be easy, but it is possible. In the process of your painful season, allow God to develop your endurance. When you do so, you will find yourself in a position where you are lacking for nothing. Additionally, draw close to the Godly people that He has placed in your life. Listen to their words of wisdom and allow them to pray with you. Your pain can produce endurance, unity and praise. Only God use something painful to produce something perfect.
A Closing Prayer:
God, you know the pain that I’m feeling. Your eyes are on me, and your ears are open to me. God, give me the endurance that I need to get through this. Help me to lean on the people that you have placed in my life. God, I will continue to thank You in the middle of the situation that I’m facing. I know that even when I am in pain, You are with me. You have no abandoned me and you never will. In Christ’s name I ask these things, Amen.