The Gift of Pain – Helping Others from Our Hurt

The Gift of Pain

The Gift of Pain

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.

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5 thoughts on “The Gift of Pain – Helping Others from Our Hurt

  1. Pingback: The Comfort of Discomfort « clayhearts

  2. Pingback: The Gift of Pain: Part Three – Wisdom from Abuse | F. Remy Diederich

  3. Mary Detweiler

    In August 2003 God called me to be a Celebrate Recovery leader and I began to lead a Celebrate Recovery ministry. In November, 2004, the leadership of the Celebrate Recovery ministry was taken away from me by the pastors and other leaders in the church. I spent the next two years wandering in a spiritual wilderness or desert.
    I’ve heard it said that great lessons are learned in times of great pain, and that certainly proved to be true for my time in the wilderness. It’s difficult to describe the depth of joy I felt at finally discovering and fulfilling God’s purpose for my life. It’s even more difficult to describe the depth of pain I felt at having that ripped away from me by human beings. Although I was devastated and in more emotional pain than at almost any other time in my life, I never once doubted God’s call on my life. I saw my removal from the leadership of Celebrate Recovery as a human thing and not a God thing. At the same time I also believed that it could not have happened unless God allowed it to happen. As Rick Warren states in The Purpose Driven Life, “Regardless of the cause, none of your problems could happen without God’s permission. Everything that happens to a child of God is Father-filtered, and he intends to use it for good even when Satan and others mean it for bad.”
    Though God’s hand was not the only hand at work in my removal from the leadership of Celebrate Recovery, his hand was mightily at work as I wandered in the wilderness. During this time, he worked on both my internal self and my external self. Internally, he brought me much closer to him, teaching me to trust him, his timing, and his plan on a much deeper level. He taught me to truly wait on him. “But those who wait on the Lord will find new strength. They will fly high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint” (Isaiah 40:31). God used my time in the wilderness to deepen and strengthen my relationship with him, particularly my dependence on him.
    He also taught me that my source of self-esteem and self-worth is not in my professional work or in my ministry. It’s in my relationship with Him, and I belong to Him, not to any particular church or ministry. I know that I know that I know that he will not abandon me or forsake me no matter what. I don’t have to perform, achieve, take care of anyone, please others, or gain others approval in order for God to love me. He loves me no matter what, and he knew me and loved me before he placed me in my mother’s womb.
    Though God taught me many lessons during my time in the wilderness, the most profound lesson he taught me was how to forgive. My healing process moved along in fits and starts. I experienced victories followed by relapses. As this happened repeatedly, I came to understand that God had a very special purpose for this time in my life.
    I gradually began to understand that just as he gave me the Celebrate Recovery ministry to lead in order to break my spirit of independence, he allowed it to be taken away from me in order to teach me how to forgive. He slowly and convincingly revealed my spirit of unforgiveness to me. I came to see that my life was not characterized by forgiveness, as Jesus wants his followers’ lives to be. Rather, my life was characterized by holding grudges and harboring bitterness, resentment, and a desire for vengeance. Though I knew that forgiveness is at the heart of the gospel message and I had received God’s forgiveness for my sins when I accepted Jesus’s work on the cross, I was not extending forgiveness to others who wronged or hurt me. God showed me that I was not walking out this vital part of the Christian walk. He further showed me that my spirit of unforgiveness would stop me from fulfilling the call he had placed on my life.
    As I struggled to forgive the pastors and other church leaders who had removed me from the position of Celebrate Recovery Ministry leader, I fought against my desire to get back at them, to make them hurt as much as they had hurt me. During this process, I was comforted by the following words of Lewis B. Smedes in Forgive and Forget: Healing the Hurts We Don’t Deserve: “Nobody seems to be born with much talent for forgiving. We all need to learn from scratch, and the learning almost always runs against the grain.”
    As I worked on forgiving those who had hurt me, I quickly realized that I could not do it on my own. My desire for vengeance was too strong. I needed God’s help, his power. I began to daily ask God to give me an attitude and lifestyle of forgiveness. I simultaneously made a decision that I was no longer going to allow those pastors and leaders to steal my joy. They had already taken too much from me, and I was not going to allow them to take anything more. As I daily prayed this prayer and reiterated my decision, my peace and joy slowly came back and I was finally able to exit the wilderness, to leave the desert.

      1. Anonymous

        Thanks. I believe I am using it as I serve on our Celebrate Recovery ministry team. After all, as Rick Warren says, “God never wastes a hurt.”

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