Don't Waste the Pain
By Jill Briscoe
It’s easy to waste the pain that God permits to come into our life isn’t it? None of us can expect to be exempt from trouble, stress, problems and pain. God sends His rain on the just and the unjust. At one time or another, people who love and serve the Lord will suffer physical pain, emotional pain, relational pain or congregational pain. In fact, Jesus said in John 16:33, “...In this world you will have trouble.” While He doesn’t promise to save us from the pain, He surely promises to save us in the pain.
When the tough tests come, there is a tendency to become so self absorbed that we are paralyzed in our ministry. A pastor’s wife struggling to get pregnant can’t face the baby showers she is expected to attend at church. Learning that his son is gay, a pastor finds it hard to prepare Sunday’s message on the goodness of God!
An overseas missionary hears her daughter at home in a Christian college is having an affair. While a couple living below the poverty level for Jesus, have a child with a major medical emergency and no health insurance. A forced resignation drives another couple into depression and out of the ministry all together.
Personal pain or corporate pain can drown you. Yet you and I need to learn to bear our private pain publicly for all sorts of reasons.
Don’t waste the pain let it prove thee;
Don’t stop the tears let them cleanse thee.
Rest, stop the striving, soon you’ll be arriving in His arms.
Don’t waste the pain, let it drive thee deeper into God
He’s waiting and you should have come sooner!
Why should you use the pain God has allowed to drive you to Him?
First, for your own good.
If we learn to fly to God, we will discover resources we never knew we had. We will experience the peace and grace of God; the power and the upholding of God. We will come to know the unreachable riches of darkness, and the hand of God that reaches out to hold us securely. These are things that will do us good. So, don’t let the pain drive you away from the only source of help that can heal! Allow it to turn you heavenwards. The present woes we suffer, says Paul, are refining us and making us more like Jesus, as we share in the fellowship of His sufferings.
Second, we should let the pain drive us to God for other people’s good.
The story is told of a little girl traveling in a railway carriage. She ran happily from one train passenger to the next, chattering and laughing. The people in the train began to wonder just who she belonged to. Suddenly the train entered a tunnel. The whistle blew and darkness rushed past the windows. The little girl gave a squeal and dashed into the arms of a man sitting in the corner. There was no more doubt about who she belonged to. She was safe in her father’s arms!
We need to use our pain to let people see whom we belong to. This way they will have a living example of where to go when they enter the dark tunnels of life. By seeing us helped and healed, it will give them hope in a hopeless generation.
Third, we need to let the pain drive us to God, for God’s sake.
He wants us to respond rightly to the suffering that He allows, so we are able to empathize with our people better. To be able to say, “I understand” - and mean it!
Our entire family went through an incredibly painful period as one of our children bore a crushing rejection and loss. The situation resulted in the poem at the beginning of the letter. A friend advised me “not to waste the pain”. So I tried to use the pain, and let it drive me to God. I didn’t always manage to respond rightly to the situation, but when God enabled me to, I found I benefited, and so did others!
Let me offer a prayer for you to use if you can’t find the words because you are in so much pain you can hardly breathe. Climb inside my prayer for yourself or someone you know who is hurting, and make it your own.
You know and You understand. I want to hear You. I should have come sooner!
See me here. I cannot speak; I am a prayer! Read me. Have mercy on me. Grace me with the sense of Your healing presence. Touch me; reach into the deep and secret part that no one can reach but You. Soothe the raw and wounded places in my heart. Walk into the hidden place of pain, and tell me You will not let me drown in these deep waters. Help me, O my God, for I cannot help myself.
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