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  • Good News Editor

How to Find Purpose in Pain

Jesus demonstrated how to surrender to purpose in the face of pain and suffering. But many religious folks may be uncomfortable with the image of Jesus that is not associated with power, miracles, and all those great things that He did.

A man of sorrows

For Jesus, it was the pain of betrayal, unfair trial, abandonment by close aides, an imminent shameful death, and the necessary rejection by God the Father.

On the night that He was arrested, Jesus took a few of His disciples into a garden to pray. He told them, "My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death" (Matthew 26:38, NLT).

The weight of the cross was already heavy on His mind. He started praying to the Father. Maybe there could be an alternative arrangement instead of the pain and agony that lied ahead. But an Angel from heaven appeared to strengthen Him - not to rescue Him. There would be no bypass for pain - even for the Son of God.

One disciple had gone out to negotiate His death with the religious authorities. The more reliable ones among them could not stand with Him to pray and hopefully resist the impending danger. They slept off. What a disappointment, and too many for one night.

But He prayed more fervently and was in such agony of spirit that His sweat fell to the ground like great drops of blood (Luke 22:44). The body and spirit were groaning together in deep agony.

In that moment of suffering, Jesus became acquainted with His pain and grief (Isaiah 53:3) and reconciled with His purpose.

Know your pain

Pain is inevitable. Pain is a universal experience. We all go through it at some point in life, either physically or emotionally. Pain could be a product of life stresses, pressures, losses, and frustrations.

Pain is a signal. Pain is a notification. It is a signpost to something that requires attention. Pain can also be an early warning system. Something is about to break down and you need to check it out.

Pain is a teacher. If you don't learn from your pain, you can't learn at all.

When a child that is left unsupervised plays with a flame of fire, the sharp pain of the blazing heat will teach them what not to touch next time. Pain is a professor of wisdom in the college of experience.

Pain is a call to action. Pain is a catalyst for action. Pain by nature calls for a response. No sane person ignores their pain forever. Sooner or later, they will be forced to do something about it. Pain is a mover.

Pain is rite of passage. Pain could transition you to the next phase of life. When a woman travails in labour pain, she is about to become a proud mother. When a student spends endless hours in studying, they are about to move to the next class. Pain opens doors to the next level.

Pain promotes progress. The discomfort associated with pain forces change and transformation. Without the pain of hunger and lack, many would like to sleep in all day rather than do anything to change their lives. Pain will push you forward.

Pain avoidance is an illusion. There is a purpose you must find within your pain. While going through the agony in the garden of Gethsemane, Jesus reconciled His pain to His purpose. He could not just avoid or eliminate the pain and go home. Pain carries purpose, avoid it at your own expense.

Final thoughts

Life can't be roses and unicorns all the time. There is no such thing as pain-free existence. Pain is part of life; you can’t avoid it.

All types of pains will try to make you sad, slow you down, or derail your purpose. Pain can serve a purpose. This understanding is critical to managing pain in a healthy way and thriving through it all.

We pray you find purpose in your pain and that you come out on the other side triumphant - just like Jesus did.


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