Finding purpose in pain, both physical and emotional, is probably the largest stumbling block we all face. However, even though every person on the planet inevitably deals with some type of brokenness, we are also called to overcome it.
In John 16:33 Jesus says, “In this world you will have trouble.” Of all the promises He gives, this is not one many of us want to accept. And, I’m sure most of us wouldn’t even consider this specific remark as a promise from Him. Yet, I’ve learned that when it comes to the Bible we must take the good with the bad, and if Jesus faced the bad, and we all know He did suffer while on this earth, then we cannot be immune from suffering either. It’s a fact: we will have trouble here. But don’t worry, there’s good news. Jesus goes onto say, “But be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” He speaks of finding peace in Him because He’s overcome the world through the cross.
If you’ve been serving Christ for any length of time then you know what Jesus did and you understand there are mountains to be moved and Goliath’s to be conquered. You also believe Jesus can and will bring victory. The problem usually isn’t what we know and believe God can do, the problem lies in wondering if He’ll ever do it for us.
I’m going to repeat that because I believe that statement will strike a chord with some. To be honest, I just typed those words unexpectedly and it stirred something in me…
The problem usually isn’t what we know and believe God can do, the problem lies in wondering if He’ll ever do it for us.
In my past I’ve wondered that same thought, and I almost allowed it to hinder my purpose altogether. In my book, Nothing to Hold but Hope, I have this to say regarding living through the death of my stillborn daughter.
“I wanted my baby, and I would think about holding her. Sometimes I would think that I heard her crying, and then I would start to have visions of myself going to the cemetery in the middle of the night, and digging up her grave. I would see myself on my hands and knees with mud-covered fingernails and a tear-stained face as I desperately tried to claw my way to her lifeless body.”
Nothing to Hold but Hope
I understand pain from many different sources. None are troubles I ever wanted to face, or expected to face, but I do know Jesus said suffering is inevitable on earth. I also know He came so that I could find peace in Him and that when it’s all said and done, He took care of everything in advance for me. But let’s just be honest here: it’s not easy to think that way in the middle of enduring tragedy or any difficult circumstance. Typically, no one wants to focus on what Jesus did for our futures, which seem light years away, we want to know what He’s going to do right now… as in this very second!
“Why does God allow suffering?” That’s a question I’m frequently asked. My answer might seem juvenile and cliché, but I believe it’s because we live in a world full of sin. The ugliness of what began in the Garden of Eden falls on the innocent as well as the guilty and not a living soul is exempt. And, finding the good in all of it and learning to focus on the victory… well, it’s a process.
When it comes to enduring great pain, physical or emotional, we are all looking for miracles. Mark Batterson writes in his book, The Grave Robber, some incredibly thought provoking words: “Everyone wants a miracle, but here’s the catch: no one wants to be in a situation that necessitates one.”
Friend, I don’t have all the answers, only God does. And that doesn’t mean He’s going to reveal them all to us, which makes our situations that much more complex. But if there’s anything I do know, it’s that when we work through the process of pain, learning to hold fast to who Jesus is and what He came to do, then we can have the ability to walk the land of purpose with our heads held high and shoulders back, knowing that no matter how hard or long the struggle, the victory is ultimately His. And He’s our defender, which means we own that victory, too! When we cling tight to His promises, we start seeing hope like we’ve never seen before. There’s a revelation of His goodness that occurs even while in the midst of facing trouble.
Tomorrow, I’m going to talk about the process that began activating my purpose, but for today’s homework, will you please write down one trouble you’re facing and then underneath it write down one evidence of grace you’ve seen from God in the midst of it?
When I was fighting a tough battle of grief over losing my baby daughter, an unexpected battle with secondary infertility came next. During that time, my doctor told me she loved to encourage others with my testimony. I thought she was crazy, because I felt as if I had nothing good to report. Why would others what to hear such a sad story? I saw pain; she saw bravery. Her eyes saw God moving in ways mine couldn’t!
I know this assignment can be difficult. Remember the term “spiritual spectacles” I used the other day? You may need to “put yours on” in order to see the good. No matter how small you consider the act of grace, share something about it with us on social media using the hashtag #ActivatingYourPurpose. And if you can’t see the grace, ask someone else to help you! Post what they have to say. Believe it or not, someone somewhere is watching you live through difficulty, and you are helping them. Yes, YOU! Let’s encourage each other and help activate purpose in the lives of other women!
For more information on this series, click here to read the introduction or scroll down to find links to previous posts and see what’s ahead.
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