Can Pain Have a Purpose?

By Aubrey Chapman

In our earthly minds, suffering and joy do not go together. In the midst of difficulties, we find ourselves raising our fist to God asking, “Why aren’t you doing anything?” After a while, when the pain has yet to subside, we lower our heads in despair and conclude that God has left us on our own. It is in this suffering that we find ourselves feeling stuck at the bottom of a “pit” – in darkness and isolation.

Because we live in a broken world under the curse of the garden, pain and heartache are to be expected. Jesus lived in the same broken world and suffered the greatest pain and heartache. If the King of all kings suffered, why do we think we should be exempt from it?

Suffering is also a privilege. Paul says in Philippians 1:29, “For you have been given not only the privilege of trusting in Christ but also the privilege of suffering for Him.” It was a privilege for Jesus to suffer for us. Through His suffering, He brought redemption and salvation for all of God’s people. So, to be able to suffer for the One True God, who laid down His life for us, it is also a privilege.

Most of us can accept that suffering is guaranteed, but why is it so difficult for us to accept that suffering is a privilege?

The good news is that God does not leave us in our “pit” of suffering. In fact, he transforms the pit that we’re in into a well as the Holy Spirit fills you up with the truth and presence of God.

If we look at our purpose in the pit as being a person in transformation (P.I.T.), we are able to see the fine hand of God at work in our lives. The Lord uses that time to instill qualities within us and shape our character. 

“We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they are good for us – they help us learn to endure. And endurance develops strength of character in us, and character strengthens our confident expectation of salvation.” -Romans 5:3-4

Not only does suffering strengthen our character, but it also draws us nearer to the heart of God. It is in the darkness and isolation where we cry our deepest cries to the Lord and where we find Him most abundantly in His great warmth and comfort. Times of suffering are actually some of the sweetest moments we share with the Lord – we cling to Him and refuse to let go.

When you find yourself sitting alone in the blackness of the pit bottom, just look up! Looking to the blackness around you will offer you no light. Dig into the Word and talk with God, seeking the way He wants to use you during this time of pain. Submit yourself and your circumstances to God. Focus on His promises to redeem, guide, and provide for you. 

As Paul says in 2 Corinthians 4:17, “Our present troubles are quite small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us an immeasurably great glory that will last forever!”

So let’s focus on the invitation that the Lord is giving us to share in His glory, to feel His heartbeat, and to develop into imitators of Christ. His power works best in our weaknesses!

 

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