Don't Waste Your Pain
“These sufferings of ours are for your benefit. And the more of you who are won to Christ, the more there are to thank him for his great kindness, and the more the Lord is glorified.” (2 Corinthians 4:15, TLB)
When you use your pain to help others, God will bless you in ways you can’t possibly imagine.
The Apostle Paul went through enormous pain in his life, which is why God was able to use him in enormous ways. He was shipwrecked, beaten, and robbed. He went without food, water, and sleep. Yet God used him to spread the Gospel throughout the Roman Empire. In fact, if you were to ask Paul, “How’d you put up with so much pain?” He’d tell you it was because he wanted to bring people to Jesus Christ. He wanted to help others.
Paul said in 2 Corinthians 4:15, “These sufferings of ours are for your benefit. And the more of you who are won to Christ, the more there are to thank him for his great kindness, and the more the Lord is glorified” (TLB).
You may never suffer the same ways Paul did, but you will go through pain in life. So you might as well use your pain for good and not waste it.
There are actually three kinds of suffering God uses to help others: self-imposed suffering, innocent suffering, and redemptive suffering.
Some suffering is the kind you bring upon yourself. You cause some of your own problems by making poor judgements. You don’t always eat the right foods, make the right decisions, or respond the right way to others.
Innocent suffering is when, through no fault of your own, you get hurt by someone else. Whether you were abandoned, rejected, or scammed, everyone has been hurt by the sins of other people.
But the highest form of suffering is redemptive suffering. This is when you go through pain or problems for the benefit of others.
This is what Jesus did. When Jesus died on the cross, he didn’t deserve to die. He went through that pain for your benefit so that you can be saved and go to heaven. In the same way, God will use your pain to bring hope and healing to others.
Who can better help somebody going through a bankruptcy than somebody who went through a bankruptcy? Who can better help somebody struggling with an addiction than somebody who’s struggled with an addiction? Who can better help parents of a special needs child than parents who raised a special needs child? Who can better help somebody who’s lost a child than somebody who lost a child?
God will never waste a hurt. God will work in your life so that he can work through you to encourage others.
Praise God and rejoice during a trial, because suffering will build your endurance and help others in their pain. God can use all three kinds of suffering for good. Start by giving each of your hurts to him and say, “God, I want you to use my pain to benefit others."
Talk It Over
How has God used pain from your past to help others? Was it self-imposed, innocent, or redemptive suffering?
What area of pain have you not yet given to God? Are you ready to say, “God, I want you to use this pain to bring benefit to others”?
Who in your life is a good example of someone using their pain to help others?
This devotional © 2022 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.