"It is doubtful whether God can bless a man greatly until He has hurt him deeply.”
This quote from well-known theologian, AW Tozer, has been sinking into my heart deeply as of late. We have so many people in our church who are experiencing REAL PAIN in their lives - loss, hardship, stress, anxiety, depression. I love the series we’re going through as a church right now, Home Run Life, because it is helping us make sense of what God could be doing in us through pain.
Here’s the encouraging thing about the Tozer quote. If you’re going through PAIN it means God has a PLAN! And GOD'S PLAN IS SO MUCH GREATER THAN OUR PAIN!!! Everyone in scripture whom God used in a significant way endured significant pain and trials.
Noah endured the ridicule of all of his neighbors.
Abraham walked the road to sacrificing his one and only son.
Joseph was sold into slavery by his own brothers and imprisoned by Potiphar after being wrongly accused.
Moses endured complaints, distrust, coups, and disobedience from the Israelites.
David spent much of his life running from his mentor who turned on him to kill him.
Ruth lost her entire family except for her Mother-In-Law.
Paul faced shipwreck, persecution, flogging, prison, and dangers we could never fathom.
Mary watched her firstborn son brutally executed.
Oh, and let’s not forget about Jesus, who was beaten, mocked, flogged, and nailed to the cross.
All of these people were GREATLY USED by God because they were willing to be GREATLY WOUNDED by God. I’ve often wondered why this must happen in order to be used. Why can’t you become great without having to endure all of the suffering, pain, hurt, back-stabbing, and betrayal?
I don’t want to dismiss this with the trite “No Pain, No Gain” cliche, but we DO gain a lot through pain. I’ve thought of 4 things pain produces in us if we’ll let it:
HUMILITY - God wants to use people who are humble. He wants to use people who are completely dependent on Him. He wants to use people who really believe they are nothing outside of the power of Jesus. Pain is the only way we can truly step into humility.
HUNGER - Pain, more than anything else, helps us realize we need a Savior. I’ve never been more desperate for Jesus than I am right now. These past 5 months since losing Amanda have taught me that Jesus really is near to the broken-hearted and that I NEED him desperately. It’s made me hungry for what Jesus can offer me and no longer desire what the world tries to offer.
HURT - When we walk through pain it turns what used to be sympathy for people into empathy with people. We can understand what others are going through in their pain because we’ve had to carry our own. Our heart breaks for other people more. This makes us MUCH more effective in life.
HELP - If you’ll let it, God will use your pain as your greatest platform to help others. Pain has caused me to walk with a completely different motive. I used to step on stage with the desire to IMPRESS so that people would come back to our church. Now I just genuinely want to HELP. I know there are hurting people coming to our church every week and I just want to give them the hope that I have - a risen King, Jesus.
So be encouraged!!! If you’re walking through a season of PAIN right now, it's not because of PUNISHMENT for something you did wrong! God is using it to PREPARE you to step into your greatest POTENTIAL. Lean into Him during this season! Anchor yourself in the truth of Romans 8:28: