I just finished a three-part series called Walking with God in the Desert at my church. It seemed to impact a number of people in a good way. My goal was to help us develop “desert eyes”, that is, to see what good might come from hard times. I called it the gift of pain.
I mentioned that we need to develop three kinds of “desert eyes”; eyes to see our dark side and deal with it. Second, eyes to see the small kindnesses that God brings our way. And last, we need eyes to see the gifts that come from our pain that help others through their desert times, or, the gift of pain.
Following is an excerpt where I talked about the ” gift of pain “.
The Gift of Pain
The easy teaching about the desert is that God wants to comfort you. That’s absolutely true. But if all I did was tell you stories of comfort then I would really be doing you a disservice because God’s comfort is only half the story in the desert.
God comforts us for two main reasons. One, he loves us. He wants to help us. The second reason is so we can turn around and comfort others. Your desert experience is a training ground to learn how to help someone else in the desert. The apostle Paul understood this. He wrote this to a church in Greece…
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.
Then Paul applies this directly to his situation…
If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort… 1 Corinthians 1:3-6
That’s like a friend of yours feeling sorry for your situation and you say…oh. Yes…I suppose it’s bad news for me but it’s good news for you. And they ask, What do you mean? And you say…because of my distress I’ll be able to comfort you better when you go through hard times.
That’s what I mean by the gift of pain. Paul used his desert experience to help others. When you go through hard times you learn things like humility and empathy and compassion. You learn what it means to be intimate with God. You can’t go to college to get these things, right?
These gifts only come one way…through pain. But once you have them then you have something to share that you never would have had to share before. God wants to work something deep into you so that he can pull it out of you to benefit someone else. It’s the gift of pain.
Question: Have you been given a gift of pain? How has your past pain prepared you to help others going through a similar trial? Please leave a comment below and “share the knowledge” by clicking the links. Thanks.
- Walking With God in the Desert – document from scribd.com
- Walking With God in the Desert – audio downloads of Remy’s messages
- Flowers on the Cactus (dwellingingrace.wordpress.com)