The Other Side of Pain

Blog_MorningSo often we take the sun for granted, only to complain when it doesn’t shine.  What we forget is that the sun never fails to shine—there are just days when we can’t see it because it’s hidden behind the clouds.  If you’ve ever been in an airplane on a cloudy day, you know that once you’re above the clouds, the sun is still there—faithfully shining, as always.

In life, we tend to take the good for granted, only to complain when trials come.  We think that God has stopped working in our lives simply because we can’t see Him clearly.  He is hidden behind our trials; shrouded by our circumstances.  But if we lift up our eyes, we will see that He is always there, faithfully laboring in love to bring forth good from our suffering.

There is always another side to our pain.  There is always a place where we will break through the clouds and see the sun—if only we will lift up our eyes.  There will always be a time when we come out the other side of our dark tunnel and find it was leading us somewhere far greater than we ever imagined.

Maybe there’s a purpose for all that you’ve lost—that in searching to find it again, you’ll discover something of far greater value.

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)

(Originally posted by Jen on “Tears of Joy” Blog)

When the Lights go Out

Blog_CandlesI spent the night in the neonatal intensive-care unit once with my son. It was enough to know I’d never want to be there during a power outage. My cousin in-law, a director of the NICU at a local hospital, woke up early one January morning to that very crisis. Severe winter weather resulted in a power outage, and the back-up generator lost connection with the fuel supply.

She was responsible to oversee the safe transport of several critical-condition babies by teams of professionals through darkened hallways and stairwells. With only flashlights to guide them, the teams effectively intervened. Once power was restored, the babies were safely, miraculously returned to the hospital unharmed.

When she shared the story with me, I was amazed how she could have remained so clear-minded in the midst of such chaos. She said when she arrived at the hospital, she stood in the pitch-dark stairwell of her unit thinking of all the lives that were at stake. And she prayed.

Her story reminds me of how Captain Rostron of the Carpathia responded upon hearing the distress signal from the sinking Titanic. Before taking action, shipmates observed him praying. Once they moved forward, they were able to successfully navigate the same sea of icebergs that destroyed the Titanic.

Prayer may seem to some an afterthought or a crutch. But for the person of faith, prayer is the very lifeboat that draws us to the presence of a limitless God. For my cousin as for Captain Rostron, God responded to their prayers by bringing peace and clarity of mind to navigate through an otherwise catastrophic situation.

When the lights go out in our lives, there is one who supplies greater power. He may not make the difficulties go away. He may not make them easier. But He will give us the wisdom we need to make our way, and even lead others, safely through the darkness. He will give peace that passes all understanding, when there is no other source for such peace to flow.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7)

When Your Pain Becomes Fuel for your Fire

Blog_FireHave you ever been through something so painful it was hard to believe anything good could come of it? It felt like the fury of hell was unleashed against you—the forces of evil at war with your soul. Everywhere you turned, you faced a weapon built to destroy your faith.

God’s Word speaks of a time when His people will take the weapons once used against them and use them for fuel: “Then those who live in the towns of Israel will go out and use the weapons for fuel and burn them up—the small and large shields, the bows and arrows, the war clubs and spears. For seven years they will use them for fuel. They will not need to gather wood from the fields or cut it from the forests, because they will use the weapons for fuel” (Ezekiel 39:9-10).

There is no trial so great that God can’t turn it around and use it for good. When seasons turn, you will see the greater purpose for all that you’ve lost. God will enable you, by His grace, to use every weapon once used against you as fuel for your fire.

I’ve heard stories of those who’ve gone through unimaginably dark circumstances, yet their trials birthed in them a passion for something beyond themselves. They chose to take their impossibly difficult circumstance and use it to bring hope and healing. In the midst of their ashes, they found strength and beauty.

Though she had endured the loss of hearing and sight, Helen Keller was able to say, “Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it.” Though she could not see, she had vision for how her lifelong struggle would be used to bring hope and change to her generation and beyond.

My prayer is that you will find the purpose for your pain. May the Lord open your eyes to see the good that can come from your trial, and enable you to bring hope and healing from the ashes of your suffering. For every weapon forged to destroy your faith, may your faith increase—and may those weapons become fuel that sustains you and brings light to others walking through the dark seasons of life.

(Originally posted by Jen on “Tears of Joy” Blog)