June 19, 2020
Pain Can Be Counted as a Blessing
He gives strength to those who are tired and more power to those who are weak (Isaiah 40:29, NCV).
Friend to Friend
I love a great movie! To me, a movie is great when good wins over evil, the right guy gets the right girl, nobody gets hurt and everyone lives happily ever after. A bit naive, I know. But I have decided that there is enough harsh reality ripping through daily life without paying to see more on a movie screen.
With these criteria in mind, I went to see the movie "Sea Biscuit." There I was; popcorn in hand, minding my own business and enjoying my brief respite, when his words slammed into my soul, yanking me back to the tenacious essence and interminable power of truth.
"You don't throw a whole life away just because it's banged up a little."
I was done.
Although I thoroughly enjoyed the rest of the movie, those words linger still because it seemed they were written just for me.
The reality is that we are all "banged up a little." In "A Farewell to Arms" Ernest Hemingway writes, "The world breaks everyone and many are strong at the broken places."
We all have hidden scars, fresh wounds and broken places. The good news is that God is drawn to broken people. In fact, He accomplishes His greatest work through those who are most broken.
Isaiah 45:3 (NIV) "I will give you the treasures of darkness, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know that I am the LORD, the God of Israel, who summons you by name."
God has gone before us and in every trial and painful circumstance has buried a treasure or stored rich secrets that can only be found by going through that darkness. The most powerful truths are revealed in the darkest times. In fact, pain intensifies our need for God and can be counted as a blessing.
I struggle with clinical depression. The darkness has been an all too familiar companion for most of my life. Over the years, I tried just about everything to soothe the pain - things like success in ministry, the approval of others, perfectionism, doing good things, food and ... you get the idea.
In 1995 my carefully constructed world fell apart and I spent two long years at the bottom of a dark pit of depression. I had no idea how to handle the pain and hurt. I cried out to God. He heard my cry and led me to a passage of Scripture that continually heals me and helps me handle hurt.
Psalm 40:1-3 (NIV) "I waited patiently for the LORD; He turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; He set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear and put their trust in the LORD."
I don’t know what your particular pit is.
But I know what you are feeling.
You may be desperately clinging to the broken and mismatched remnants of your life, wondering how you can go on.
Whispers of the enemy creep into your heart, soul and mind, taunting you with the lie that you are just too dirty and broken for God to love or use.
It seems as if nothing and no one can change that reality, so you might as well give up, throwing your life away.
Nothing could be further from the truth! Hurt may be inevitable, but misery is optional. How we respond to pits and pain is our choice.
We can surrender to the darkness and create an identity that feels at home in a pit or we can embrace the pain and learn from it.
We can settle for a life defined by pain or we can harness the power of our pain and use it for good.
We can try to ignore the pain and hope it all goes away or we can face it and let God heal the broken places.
Those are not just words. They are choices that you and I can and must make every single day. God knows. God hears. God will breathe life into the right choices that we make. And today He is asking, “Daughter, what will you do with your pain?”
Father, my heart is broken and I don’t understand what You are doing in my life. The darkness is very real and filled with more questions than answers. And I don’t like it! But I love You, Lord, so I choose trust over fear and faith over doubt. Lord, please fill each broken place in my heart with Your peace and love. Today, I choose You.
In Jesus’ Name,
Now It’s Your Turn
Pour out your heart to your God in prayer, asking Him to uncover the hurt in your life. In your journal, record each one in simple, honest words. Every day this week, read aloud Psalm 40:1-3 and claim it as a certain hope from God's heart to yours.
More from the Girlfriends
Mary Southerland seemed to have it all until clinical depression brought her world crashing down. She found herself paralyzed and unable to function at home or in ministry. Experience Mary's story of deliverance through Hope in the Midst of Depression, a practical guide and bible study designed to help you learn how to embrace and use the power of your pain.