A Stronger Faith - Reflections
Purpose in Pain
“I have told you this so that you might have peace in me. In the world you will have trouble, but take courage, I have conquered the world.”
John 16:33 NABRE
Very few things are inevitable in life, unfortunately, pain is one of them. Despite our desires and best efforts, we will experience pain and loss in this life. Jesus tells us this directly many times, going so far as to ask each of us to carry our cross and follow him. The cross Jesus was referring to, somewhat sanitized now in modern times, was an infamous instrument of torture.
While this sounds terrible, Jesus gives us a promise; a way out. He tells us that we can have peace in him because he has conquered the world. This is the peace that surpasses all understanding. This is the peace that is on display in our most recent podcast guest, Josh Giambalvo, as he has leaned into his faith and personal relationship with Jesus, to turn the pain of a lost child into a ministry that helps other families in pain.
“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”
Romans 8:28 ESV
One of the great promises in the Bible is that all things work together for good for those who love God and are called according to his purpose. This means that whatever pain or tragedy we may be going through, if we love God and remain focused on his purpose for us, He will use it for good. This can obviously be easier said than done, but it remains true nonetheless. If we trust in God and can seek out his purpose for our life, He can work through us to bring good from any circumstances.
In fact, like Josh, we may just find our purpose in our pain. Many times, we might miss that purpose because we don’t want to attend to our pain. We are so conditioned to avoid pain, that we will do everything we can to ignore or numb it. When we do this we might just miss God leading us to our purpose through the pain. C.S. Lewis points out this wonderful truth in telling us that our pain must be attended to, because it is often how God speaks to us.
“Pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our consciences, but shouts in our pains. It is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”
God is speaking to us in our pain. In fact, He may be revealing His purpose for our lives. Pain and loss still hurt, but if we lean into God during those times of trial, we might just begin to see opportunities for Him to use that pain for His greater good.
Our natural tendency is to avoid pain, but eventually we will all have our fair share to deal with. Hopefully, like Josh, we will be able to see God work our pain for his purposes.
Like the famous quote says, “where you stumble, there lies your treasure”.