Dena Johnson Martin Christian Blog and Commentary

Passion Through Pain

~~I was recently having a conversation with a dear friend whose marriage is struggling. As we talked through the issues they are facing, she shared just how deeply the pain is affecting her. She talked about her dreams—dreams of an extraordinary life, dreams of being used mightily for God’s kingdom—and she wondered aloud how those dreams could possibly come true with her current situation.

“What if,” I began, “God’s path to fulfilling your dreams is through the pain you are experiencing right now?”
We continued talking, and I told her about my dreams. Since the age of 20, I have felt that God had a writing and speaking ministry for me. I have seen his hand provide experiences for me that would prepare me for the fulfillment of those dreams.

But, those dreams have lain dead and dormant for many years.

In all reality, I had given up on those dreams. I had accepted that my role was that of wife and mother. I had chosen to serve quietly, faithfully beside my husband, content to be the strong but silent pastor’s wife in the background. I felt that my highest calling was to support the ministry that God had given my husband.

When God plants a dream in your heart, however, he refuses to let those dreams die. They may lie dormant, unfulfilled for many years. You may forget about them, become content to live your quiet, ordinary life. You may settle for the status quo, believing that your best years are behind you.

But God has not forgotten you. He has not forgotten the dreams planted in your heart. He will not let your dreams go unfulfilled.

Be prepared, however. Does God ever do things the way we expect? Or does he take the most unexpected, unconditional route to achieve our dreams?

I am finding that God often uses the most painful circumstances of our lives to fulfill our dreams. He creates passion in us by walking through the pain. He molds us into his image, igniting a burning passion that will not die. He gives purpose to our pain.

Twenty years ago, my dream was to write and speak. I never dreamed that God would use adultery and divorce to give me a voice. I never dreamed that he would allow everything to be ripped away from me so that I could be prepared to be a voice for him.

When we are tempted to believe that our dreams are dead, we must remember the promises God has given us.
If you will search eagerly for God, plead with the Almighty, If you are pure and do the right thing, then surely he will become active on your behalf and reward your innocent dwelling. Although your former state was ordinary, your future will be extraordinary.
Job 8:5-7

Job’s “friends” were not the most encouraging in his time of distress, but I love this little gem! His friends tried to convince him that somehow the calamity that had befallen him was because of his sin. Of course, we know the back story. We know that God had a conversation with Satan and hand-picked him to be tested. God saw his heart, his purity, his righteousness, and he knew that Job would pass the test.

And what happened to Job at the end of his life? He proclaimed, “My ears had heard about you, but now my eyes have seen you” (Job 42 5). Through the trials of this life, God gave him a deeper, more intimate relationship with the Savior. And, the second half of his life was more blessed than the first (Job 42:12).

For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. Ephesians 2:10

God has created you for good things. He will stop at nothing to accomplish his purpose in you and through you. Almost every biblical character went through a period of preparation that involved pain, isolation, learning dependence on God. Elijah was fed by ravens at the Kerith Brook. Joseph spent years in bondage and prison between the birth of his dream and the fulfillment of his dream. David spent years running from King Saul after he was selected to be King of Israel and the time he took the throne.

Your trials are accomplishing a work in you, an eternal work that God will use to prepare you for the great purpose he has planned for you. Maybe, just maybe, God will use this season of pain to give you the future you desire.

Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. Ephesians 3:20

Our perspective is limited. We are not all-knowing, all-seeing. But our God is. You see, he can see our past, our present, our future. He can take and weave it all together into a beautiful mosaic. He sees the final picture even when we can’t.

As a matter of fact, we can’t even begin to imagine the way he will fulfill our dreams! It will blow us away!

Here I am, my dreams of writing and speaking have been dormant for 20 years. I had almost given up. And yet, after walking through divorce and adultery, God has prepared me for an amazing future. He has used my pain, my isolation to create a heart for those walking through marital pain. He has given me new compassion, a new outlook on life. And, today I see this amazing ministry unfolding in front of me.

When I started this little blog two and a half years ago, I hoped to have a few readers. Never in my wildest dreams did I think that I would have readers around the globe, be writing for a variety of Christian sites. Never did I imagine that I would be a guest on radio shows, have invites to speak in Kenya, be honored to speak at the upcoming single mom conference.

I am blown away by God’s grace, humbled by the doors opening before me. I am amazed at God’s goodness on my life. I am blessed by every email, every comment, every view on my blog.
God has begun to fulfill my dreams, but it came through immense pain.

Are you facing pain? Perhaps it is through the pain that God will give you passion. Perhaps it is through the hurt that God will fulfill your dream. Search for him. Plead with him. You won’t be disappointed!