Problems. We all have them at one time or another. Often our problems cause us pain.
The loss of a job, betrayal by a loved one, a shattered dream, a devastating illness…all of these things can bring pain into our lives.
When we are faced with our pain it is tempting to give in to the discouragement, depression, or hopelessness that often accompanies a tough situation. What if we chose to look at our pain differently, though? What if we could change our perspective and see how we can learn something from our pain? What if there is a purpose in our pain?
I’m not here to debate whether God causes or allows us to experience painful times. That’s a subject for another day. However, this I do know. God can use our pain to change us and move us in the direction He wants us to go. He will use our pain and turn it into something good. How do I know this?
Romans 8:28 (ESV) puts it this way:
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
A few days ago I watched a webinar by Dr. Betsy Lavin titled When Pain Serves a Purpose. I met Betsy a couple of years ago at a writer’s conference. She is a chiropractor and a life purpose coach. She uses biblical truths to help women discover their identity in Christ, their spiritual gifts, and their purpose. I love her heart for helping women.
The webinar focused on helping other life coaches use an approach that would help their own clients learn to see the purpose that their pain serves. I am not a life coach, however this topic was very interesting to me. So let me share what I learned from the webinar.
There are three divine perspectives in processing our pain.
1. Deepening and Clarifying Values-Our painful events can serve as a way to help us identify what we truly value. They can make us realize what’s most important to us and what we are not willing to give up. Ask yourself these questions:
Did this event cause me to change my behavior?
Did it make me realize what is really important to me?
Did I change something about my life because of it?
If you can answer these questions, you may see how God was using your pain to help you realize what you value. Because of your painful experience, you now understand what you value and what you will not compromise.
2. Spiritual Formation and Character Development-God often uses our pain to grow us up in our faith and to shape our character.
Jesus possessed many characteristics that we should develop in our own lives such as compassion, humility, patience, love, loyalty, integrity, hospitality, truthfulness, endurance, and courage. There are so many more I could list, but I think you get the point.
When we can look back on a painful experience and see how we are more like Christ now, then we can know God used our pain for the development of our character.
3. Guidance and Direction-Some of our painful experiences are used by God to move us to another place. Sometimes it’s physically moving but more often it is moving us to a different direction in our life.
I’ve experienced times when I thought I was following God’s will for my life when suddenly a door of opportunity was shut and I had to re-direct my life. Through the pain of that shut door, God was able to open my eyes to greater and more meaningful opportunities.
God can use any of these perspectives to bring purpose to our pain. I challenge you to study these three perspectives closely and ask God to show you what purpose He is trying to accomplish through your pain.
I want to thank Betsy for inviting me to the webinar. The information I learned there definitely opened my eyes to some ways God has been at work in my life. If you are interested in learning more about life purpose coaching or becoming a life purpose coach, you can visit Betsy’s website here.
Share how God has shown you the purpose in your pain.