CHRISTIAN LIFE & GROWTH
Your Pain has a Purpose
By Dennis Cooper
Cross-posted at: Our Pain has a Purpose
Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God. Acts 14:22Today I think of the introduction to the Sermon on the Mount. I dwell upon the kind of people Jesus drew to Himself on that occasion. Who were they? They were hungry and tired, but inspired on that awesome day to receive the good news of Gods Kingdom, with the King Himself addressing the many lost and lowly who followed Him. It was those poor in spirit, those who mourned, those hungering for righteousness and the meek and humble people scattered across that hillside. They were the merciful and pure of heart. They were the persecuted and the peacemakers. These are the seeds within a man that bring Him to the feet of Jesus and the meaning of the cross where His real blood was shed for you and me. The whores and thieves and uneducated fools who found The Way and Truth experienced much pain and sorrow, albeit often self inflicted, and this kind of life ripens one for grace and salvation. You see, we know that we needed saved — saved from ourselves and the sin we were in. Be happy you people of the world who just can't find your way. Rejoice in the tears cast down your face from those lost years and yesterdays now behind you. All that pain...it had a purpose.
I believe that when we are found anew in Christ Jesus, our biggest regrets and mistakes and sins can be points of light for ministry and encouragement to others to inspire them, find the truth, and keep the faith. To make good from the bad things in our lives, as Romans 8:28 relates to us, is a work of powerful love to those called according to God's purpose in Jesus our Salvation. My years in prison in my youth has served as an amazing springboard to know what it is like to come out of the gutter, and I feel comfortable speaking to tattoo-ridden convicts who are future children of the Most High God. I know what it is like to be a lie, and to feel lost in this world like an orphan, and to only have myself to blame. Father Son and Holy Spirit now carry that burden of blame and send me to the very people I used to be. His love and His ways are so amazing, for now that guilt and shame has been eternally replaced with a joy and satisfaction that only His Spirit and undeserved mercy can impart. Much of the freedom I have personally found in our Lord has been birthed from the tears I cried over the way I walked in this world. God's Kingdom is gonna be filled to the brim with losers and criminals and folks who just couldn't get it right and whose lives have led them to a dead-end road that ended at Jesus Christ and His Truth. Eternity in Christ begins many times at our very rock bottom. Now he is our Rock. All that pain, it had a purpose.
There have been many wrong things done to me in my life; that pain and suffering that is not self-inflicted. I have been used and abused, stolen from, cheated on, and lied to...I am orphaned from my family who chooses religion over relationship. I have not spoken to some of my family in years over my faith in Jesus. But I have learned that in ways, I am kind of like Paul...I needed so much forgiveness and God knows what He is doing in our lives; when He calls us and how He speaks life into our brokenness. Those who need much forgiveness will love much in return. He came to save sinners, and sinners have the ability and wisdom to lead others to salvation. We cannot be quiet about this Jesus Christ we follow because every path we paved ended in sorrow and guilt and shame, and the footsteps were our own. We became the fine soil that bore His fruitage because we were barren without His Words of life and grace and love. We were so ready for something real and true and none of that could be found in us. We had no grounds to be haughty and arrogant because our shame and regret followed us like the guilt we so believed in. Take heart and be glad, you folks at the end of your rope and buried at your rock bottom in a life of struggle and despair. Now your heart is able to receive the mercy you so need and the truth you so want in life. You will come to know that all pain had a purpose.
"'Return home and tell how much God has done for you.' So the man went away and told all over town how much Jesus had done for him." (Luke 8:3) How beautiful and truly amazing our Creator is in transforming our burdens and sorrows into sweet words of redemption for others to hear. This account in Luke spoke of a demon possessed man who lived his life naked and alone in a graveyard outside of Galilee. Upon seeing the Messiah he shouted as loudly as he could, begging for mercy, and that is all it took for our Lord to fill him with a new Spirit, one that spoke volumes to how gracious God really is. We live in a world today that has a sedative for every surgery and a pill for every pain. Pain is avoided at all costs because it hurts us physically and stops us in our tracks. However, I believe a broken heart and a shattered past and a life lost in the broken pieces of our yesterdays brings about a pain that can cripple us to an absolute standstill. It is in those places and spaces, we often start digging our hole to feel safe only find that the bottom is as far as we dare to dig. Our pains in life — mental and physical and spiritual — do not need to forever define us. They beautifully refine us to a point where we have to seek help from a source and power that is a hand, lifting us out of the ashes of who and what we are, bringing us into the life and light of Who He is and what He does In Jesus sweet name. I have come to believe that the way and truth and life is often found down upon humble knees and tear-filled eyes, calling out to the One who was sent to save us from the struggle and burdens we bear even though we know Him not. In these moments of life, Jesus reaches down from heavens and says, You are my child I know you and I love you and I always have and I always will. Be Still and know that I am God for on this day please take my hand and see the light, for all that rain that you called pain had a purpose to lead you to my loving arms forever.
Your pain has such a beautiful purpose.
Image Credit: Robert_z_Ziemi; untitled; Creative Commons
Tags: Biblical-Truth | Christian-Life | Hardships
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Published on 1-10-17