Questions to Consider
•Is there good to be found in pain?
•In what ways have you been refined through suffering?
•How do you overcome pain (physical, emotional, spiritual) in your life?
•How does God use pain for good? How does he overcome pain?
Plan of Action
•Think about a difficult or hurtful situation in your life. As you consider this situation, consider what you can change and do differently? Consider how you are contributing to the hurt?
•Pray! There is no greater gift God gives us when wrestling with pain and suffering. Ask God to reveal what he wants to reveal to you through the pain.
It’s hard to live with suffering. We do whatever we can to avoid it. And when we encounter suffering we look for the quick fix. But in our haste to eliminate the pain we often miss the purpose behind it and the lesson to be learned.
If we have a headache, we take an aspirin. We want pain relief that is quick to eliminate the headache. But in our effort to find the quick fix we miss discovering the cause behind the pain. The cause of the headache might be dehydration, stress, or lack of sleep. The aspirin is the quick fix, but the real need could be to drink more water, eliminate stress, or get more sleep. When we fail to grasp the root cause of our pain, we will often find ourselves soon experiencing the pain again.
I see this a lot as pastor. A church member comes with a crisis. They want a Bible verse to be read or prayer to be prayed that will make it all better. But sometimes we need to wrestle with God and the cause of our pain. We need to go back to the origins of the pain and our own sin to discover how he is refining us.
The pain tells us something is not right. It gives us the opportunity to discover what needs to change. It points us to find our strength and healing in God. Through the pain we are refined. Through it God prepares us for future ministry. Through it we develop greater appreciation for future glory.
Maybe you are struggling in your marriage. You look to read a book on marriage. You go to counseling. You attend a conference. You participate in a couples Bible study. You are looking for that one thing to make everything better. Marriage takes work and effort. There is not a quick fix. A great marriage is not discovered in one thing. Health and healing is approached from all sorts of different angles.
It is true in marriage and in so many other parts of life. Achieving the greatest joys in life are not discovered by following step-by-step instruction manuals. They come through a lot of hard work, sweat, tears, and faith in God. The greater the struggle while on the journey, the greater appreciation upon reaching the destination.
It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? Hebrews 12:7 (ESV)