August 1, 2016
READ: 2 Corinthians 4:8-18
So we live in the face of death, but this has resulted in eternal life for you (v.12).
The woman and her daughter approached me after I had spoken on the way God can transform pain into something good. The daughter, Kate, was too distraught to talk, so her mother spoke for her.
“Last year Kate’s husband was arrested on charges of indecent dealings with children,” she said, “including his own daughter. Since then Kate has lost her husband, her kids and many of her friends—no one wants to be associated with something like this. We’ve been touched by what you’ve shared today, but what good could possibly come from this?”
I prayed silently before I answered. The last thing Kate and her mother needed was false hope or some pious platitude.
The apostle Paul knew pain too well to treat it lightly. He’d been whipped, beaten and abused for following Jesus (2 Corinthians 6:5). His friends had abandoned him (2 Timothy 4:9-11). But in walking through this pain with God he had made a profound discovery: his suffering was uniting him with the suffering of Jesus, and through it Jesus’ resurrection life was being revealed through him (2 Corinthians 4:10). The “death” Paul faced was resulting in life for others (vv.12,14-15). His deep wounds were bringing healing to those around him.
“Kate,” I said, “your trust has been deeply broken by those closest to you. But if you were to walk through this pain with God and document what you discover as you learn to trust others again, you could help many people rebuild their trust after their own betrayals. That would be a powerful way your pain could be transformed into something good.”
Paul found that God redeems our pain in the same way He redeemed it for Jesus on the cross—by turning our deep wounds into deep healing for others.
365-day plan: Luke 10:25-42
Read 2 Cor. 12:9 and consider what happens as we seek God’s grace in the midst of our suffering.
Do you view your wounds as God’s tools? How are you stewarding your pain and disappointments for the benefit of others?