Where I live, there is a lot of pain. And people go through their life, coping with their pain, while keeping one eye on the distant horizon, searching for that oasis off in the distance that might offer respite from their loneliness, disappointments, or unhealthy relationships and circumstances.
When I got re-married, I couldn’t help but notice that the people around me seemed to see my new marriage as that kind of oasis, a deliverance from my suffering, a place of otherworldly happiness and bliss… It was the Hollywood ending to a great story.
But even though I married the best guy in the world, hands down…! God was not finished with me, and pain continues to be a regular part of my daily life. This is not because my life is bad, or that I am not incredibly blessed by the people and opportunities around me, but it is because God’s goal for me is bigger than a life of bliss. His goal is to completely transform me into the image of His Son, inviting me to participate with Him, in the ongoing creative movement of His reconciling work in the world, bringing His Kingdom come and His will done here on earth as it is in heaven (Matt 6:10).
And inevitably, pain is a part of that process.
FOR SUCH A TIME AS THIS.
I believe that God has been raising up men and women of the faith who will live lives in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ (Philippians 1:27)
If you are reading this blog, God is calling your name for such a time as this… (Esther 4:14)
We are experiencing very special days in the Church. We are in one of those important time periods when God raises up new leaders to help move the Church into something new…
- The Western “modern” way of thinking, that has been our culture for the past 4-500 years, is breaking down.
- The Age of the global village has ushered a whole new culture into the West, a new way of being in and interpreting the world.
- This has given the church opportunity to re-evaluate itself, in the sense of a new reformation, re-discovering who we are and how we are to be in the world as Christ followers, a Kingdom people.
But for the Church to realize its potential in the present and coming age, if we are to be faithful to the call of God and steward the good news of His kingdom, WE NEED TO GROW!!!! We need to be better than we’ve been. We need to expand our capacity for more of Him in our lives if the church is going to fulfill its mission to steward the Good News of God and be the hope of the world.
WE GROW THROUGH PAIN.
Dear one, you cannot simply cope with your pain. You cannot bury it. You cannot deny it. You must press into it and “[w]ork hard to show the results of your salvation, obeying God with deep reverence and fear” (Philippians 2:12, NLT).
It is because of sin and Satan that we “have many trials and sorrows.” But we are to “take heart, because [he has] overcome the world” (John 16:33, NLT)!
God is bigger than your pain, and He is bigger than anything working against you… He is working over and in it all to fulfill His good purposes in our lives, sanctifying and redeeming us, expanding our capacity for more of Him.
BELIEVE HIM FOR MORE.
If you are believer in Christ Jesus, you cannot just cope with your pain. You cannot just testify in church that “things are going well so praise God…” We have to testify to more than just temporarily good circumstances which fall on both “the evil and the good” (Matt 5:45). We have to bear witness to God through our spiritual formation into His image. We can no longer take for granted that our neighbors know who He is! They will only know to the extent that He lives in us…
“But you are my witnesses, O Israel!” says the Lord.
“You are my servant.
You have been chosen to know me, believe in me,
and understand that I alone am God.
There is no other God—
there never has been, and there never will be. (Isaiah 43:10, NLT)
Lean into your pain in obedience, surrender, and a willingness to suffer sacrifice and loss in whatever form… (there is a high cost to growth!). And let God transform you into the glorious expression of His love He created you to be!
Raise the standard, dear one. Less of us. And more of Him. So the world may know…
*Leadership Pain, the Classroom for Growth by Samuel R. Chand