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Finding Meaning In Suffering

I am often asked these questions, “Why so much pain? Does God hate me? Did I do something to tick Him off?” You gotta know that I’ve asked these same questions. Here’s what I’ve come to learn on the journey toward healing.

One of the greatest temptations we face as humans is the urge to find relief from our pain. The most common thing we do in the middle or after the crisis is to run from the pain in search of relief, comfort or pleasure–at any cost. We all have something or someone we run to when we are in pain and need to be comforted.

Take a moment to answer the following questions:
What do you use to anesthetize your heart’s pain?
Where do you go to find relief for your despairing soul?
Who do you turn to to receive comfort when your heart is hurting?
What comfort foods do you like to eat when you’re sad?

The Big Questions
Pain causes us to ask important questions and gives us an opportunity to understand the big picture.

What is life about, anyway?
Who am I?
Who loves me?
Who wants me?
Who needs me?
Who really cares about me?
What’s the point of life?
Is there more to life than this?

A Principle Of Life
God produces the sun and the rain; and yes, there are seasons where there is sometimes more sunshine and less rain. A prolonged season of sun without rain may lead to a drought. A prolonged season of rain without sunshine may lead to emotional floods. And in some climates there are seasons of monsoon rains.
And, this is the way of life.

Solomon reminds us, that God causes the sun and the rain to fall on the just and unjust alike.

TO EVERYTHING THERE IS A SEASON, and a time for every matter or purpose under heaven: A time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to pluck up what is planted, A time to kill and a time to heal, a time to break down and a time to build up, A time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, A time to cast away stones and a time to gather stones together, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, A time to get and a time to lose, a time to keep and a time to cast away, A time to rend and a time to sew, a time to keep silence and a time to speak, A time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace. (Ecl. 3:1–8, Amplified, emphasis added)

Life has seasons of prosperity (sunshine) and seasons of adversity and hardship (rain, monsoons).

So, is their purpose in our pain?
Our response to pain gives us an opportunity to align or realign our hearts with truth. Pain creates pressure, and pressure creates the possibility that we are more likely to go directly to God. But, it’s our response to pain over time that changes us for the better or worse.

[excerpt above from Stubborn Love: A Recommitment To Live When Giving Up Seemed So Much Easier]
© Cheryl Ott 2011

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