Have you ever wondered why we go through painful experiences? What purpose does it serve?
First, we need to remember it’s not about us. It’s all about God. When you go through a painful experience, God is trying to bring you to the end of yourself, so He can take over. He wants to stretch you and make you depend on Him. That doesn’t mean He causes the painful event, but He will certainly use it.
Did you know real emotional pain lasts only two minutes? The rest is perceived pain. We have a choice of how we respond to that perceived pain. It matters greatly what you do with your pain. Pain will point you to the path of your healing. Do you want to be healed? Follow the pain.
If God is God, why do we have to experience pain? That’s a question people ask often. The short answer is “free will.” God doesn’t cause the things we go through. But He does meet us in our pain. He uses pain to teach us how to come into His presence.
Another common question is, “Why do children have to suffer?” Children suffer because of sin in the world. Also, generational sin and troubles in the womb cause suffering in children. What bad fruit in your life do you also see in your kids?
When you go through a painful experience, or when you think back on a painful event, ask the Lord, “What did I do to cause this pain?” Practice asking the Lord. Listen for His response. Then repent, forgive, embrace, invite, endure. God will use the pain to get you healed.
By seeking God in the midst of your pain, you can learn from the experience. You will get to know God and His ways, and you will get to know yourself really well. You will start growing in the fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). And you will get healed, get real, and get free. When you look at your pain, what is a new thing you can learn about God?
So, how do you get through the pain, so you can grow from it?
You start with Jesus. Invite His presence. Acknowledge your pain and invite Him to meet you in the middle of it. Be still. Let Him just be with you in your pain.
Then allow pain to do its work. Don’t keep trying to escape it. Don’t seek false refuges to avoid those two minutes of pain. Just be present with God in your pain.
We all have false refuges that we’re tempted to seek out in pain. False refuges are the things we turn to when we want to escape pain. What do you use when you are in pain? Can you exchange that for God? Seek Him instead? Remember that God will use your pain to get you healed, so you can be free.
Here is one of my favorite passages of scripture. The Apostle Paul talks about the fellowship of the suffering of Christ. Meditate on this passage and ask God what this means for you during your times of pain:
“But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.
“Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 3:7-14 NKJV