Tuesday, November 2, 2010
The Beauty of My Pain
Many people have great difficulty understanding why a loving God would allow such terrible things to happen to people. Especially when the person seems to be a good or innocent person. I can't speak for all people who have been through great pain, but I can speak to the purpose of my pain. This is the purpose of my pain: that I should lead others to the knowledge of Who God is.
Isaiah 61 (NIV)
"The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me,
because the LORD has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,
to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor
and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the LORD
for the display of his splendor.
They will rebuild the ancient ruins
and restore the places long devastated;
they will renew the ruined cities
that have been devastated for generations.
Strangers will shepherd your flocks;
foreigners will work your fields and vineyards.
And you will be called priests of the LORD,
you will be named ministers of our God.
You will feed on the wealth of nations,
and in their riches you will boast.
Instead of your shame
you will receive a double portion,
and instead of disgrace
you will rejoice in your inheritance.
And so you will inherit a double portion in your land,
and everlasting joy will be yours.
“For I, the LORD, love justice;
I hate robbery and wrongdoing.
In my faithfulness I will reward my people
and make an everlasting covenant with them.
Their descendants will be known among the nations
and their offspring among the peoples.
All who see them will acknowledge
that they are a people the LORD has blessed.”
I delight greatly in the LORD;
my soul rejoices in my God.
For he has clothed me with garments of salvation
and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness,
as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest,
and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
For as the soil makes the sprout come up
and a garden causes seeds to grow,
so the Sovereign LORD will make righteousness
and praise spring up before all nations. "
For a very long time, I asked "why me". The understanding of my purpose crept up on me unawares and I did not realize the full extent of it until the day that God changed my perspective. When I stopped looking at my misery and began to look at God's plan, it became clear to me.
First of all, I began to understand things regarding my relationship to God. I used to struggle with feelings of being unloved and uncared for. I did not understand why God hated me so much that I would be cursed with such a life of unexplainable horrors. It seemed that with every turn, there was a force that would not allow me to rise out of the depths of sorrow, pain, and heart break. It is difficult to understand why God would allow such terrible things to happen to someone. I did not know why other people did not have such a traumatic life. I felt that there was some reason why God hated me. Then, I learned that the whole reason I suffered so is because He loves me. I know that does not seem to make much sense, but if I could explain what I mean, perhaps you may in some way understand. You see, there are several benefits that only my pain could give. One such benefit is the level of love that I have now. Without darkness, one can not fully appreciate the light. A metaphor that I like to use is my allergies. When I was a child, I had horrible allergies. They were so bad that I seemed as if I were rotten with a cold every day of my life. When I had taken allergy shots for a while, my allergies improved greatly. I remember how I felt after my allergies got better. I felt SO good! I could breathe, I had more energy, and I was free from sneezing all the time! If I had not been so sick, I would not have been so amazed by how it felt to be well. Similarly, if I had not felt so defeated and unloved as a child, I would not know how amazing it is to have victory and be loved in Christ. It is Christ in me that makes me special and I now have the joy of being exceedingly passionate for Him because He gave me beauty for ashes. Logically, this revelation was followed by another. My understanding was further opened when I considered what the purpose was for all this.
To me, the epiphany that came next was even bigger and more awe-inspiring than the first. When I considered that there may be a greater purpose for these works than simply what had been transpired within my own heart, I realized the call that God was fulfilling in me. I knew, somehow, that God certainly was not creating these things within me for my benefit alone. When I considered how my experiences could serve a larger purpose, I realized that God was making me into a person who could bring beauty and transformation to others who were bound within their own pain. Through my experience, others would know the transforming joy of purpose and fulfillment. There was no other way for me to be equipped to do all these things than by living them myself. I know that God is using the light AND the dark to make me into the vessel that He wants me to be and now I can honestly say that I am more than happy with my lot in life. I am honored that God would choose me for such a precious service than to heal His own brokenhearted people and to show captives how to be free. It leaves me in awe that He would choose someone as lowly as me, but that also is to fulfill His own Word for it states in 1 Corinthians 1:28-29 that "God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him." (NIV)
So my message to all can be captured in this: 1. My pain not only had a purpose, but its purpose was such that I would gladly go through any pain if only it would have the same result. 2. My pain was not for me alone but for all who hurt. 3. God's wisdom is greater than ours and to Him be the glory for His plans and His purposes are greater than we can imagine!
Do not allow the pain of the world to cause you to stumble in your faith. There is no way for our imperfect minds to understand the depth of the power and plans of God. We must trust, no matter what things may seem, that He loves us and that His plan is perfect. I will leave you all, my beloved friends, with this last perfect Word:
1 Corinthians 2:1-5
"And so it was with me, brothers and sisters. When I came to you, I did not come with eloquence or human wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. I came to you in weakness with great fear and trembling. My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power."
Boundless Love in Christ,