The Best Use of Your Deepest Pain
"[God] comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. For the more we suffer for Christ, the more God will shower us with his comfort through Christ." (2 Corinthians 1:4-5, NLT)
When you’re going through pain, you can choose to focus on yourself or on other people. When you choose to focus on serving other hurting people, that’s called redemptive suffering. It is the highest and best use of your pain.
No matter what pain you've gone through, Jesus wants to redeem your suffering. He doesn't want it to be wasted! He wants to use it to help other people when they are in pain.
Who's better qualified to help a struggling veteran than somebody who's been a struggling veteran? Who's better qualified to help someone recovering from a prescription drug addiction than somebody who has recovered from a prescription drug addiction? Who could better help someone who is suffering from a chronic illness than someone who has also suffered in the same way?
Your greatest ministry will come out of your deepest pain. If you'll be honest with God, others, and yourself about whatever struggle you’ve faced, then that struggle will become your ministry.
Sharing your strengths doesn't make you feel any closer to someone. But when you share the experiences that have led you to surrender to God and rely on his strength, then you’ll be connected to others more deeply than you can imagine. Why? Because when you—as a broken person—share with other broken people how God has restored you, you’re not just sharing something you have in common. You’re sharing hope that other people can also experience redemption through Jesus Christ.
Sharing your pain helps you and the people around you to grow in Christ. Using your pain to serve others is a form of ministry.
Don’t waste your pain. Let God use it for your greatest ministry.
Talk It Over
Think about the greatest pain you’ve suffered. Do you believe God can use it for good in your life and the lives of others? Why or why not?
Why does sharing your struggles rather than your strengths often tie you more deeply to someone?
How do you want God to use you in ministry? Have you asked him to use your suffering to bring other people to redemption?
This devotional © 2020 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
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