Through God’s Grace, Your Pain Has a Purpose
“My grace is all you need, for my power is greatest when you are weak.” (2 Corinthians 12:9a TEV)
As a pastor, I meet hurting people all the time. You can take two people, put them in the same difficult situation, and one of them is devastated by it while the other demonstrates a sweet spirit. How is that possible? It’s possible because one of them is relying on the sustaining grace of God.
What relieves our hurt and helps us keep going when we’re in pain and we want to give up? God’s grace.
Paul gives us a great example of this in 2 Corinthians. Three times he said, “Lord, take this pain out of my life,” and God didn’t do it. The Bible says God’s response was, “My grace is all you need, for my power is greatest when you are weak” (2 Corinthians 12:9a TEV).
When we pray for God’s help during a crisis, he will respond in one of two ways. He’ll either remove the pain, or he’ll give us the strength to deal with it.
We don’t tend to like the second option. We want God to instantly remove whatever pain we’re dealing with. Yet sometimes God leaves the pain for a purpose. He wants us to learn something. He can teach us much more through pain than through comfort.
When God’s grace meets you in the deepest, darkest places of your life, you realize that nothing — no problem, no crisis, no hurt — can devastate your life. You know that you can handle anything with God’s help.
But let’s face it. We don’t always handle our problems in a way that helps us to grow. Often we take it on ourselves. The Bible says that makes us bitter: “Be careful that none of you fails to respond to the grace which God gives, for if he does there can very easily spring up in him a bitter spirit which is not only bad in itself but can also poison the lives of many others” (Hebrews 12:15 Phillips).
The only antidote to whatever pain you’re dealing with is the grace of God. To receive the grace of God, all you have to do is humble yourself, tell God you need his help, and receive his grace.
God may not take away the hurtful situation. But he can — and he will — walk with you through it.
Talk It Over
- What is a difficult experience in your life when God showed you his grace?
- How have you seen bitterness develop in you when you refused to give your pain over to God?
- Why is it easier for God to teach you things through pain than through comfort?