My life feels like an episode of Survivor at times. It has been full of tough obstacle courses & lots of adventure. Adventure is two sided. One side has difficult courses such as facing hard & painful circumstances that test my faith in God & humanity. Honestly, I don’t really like this side of adventure even though it usually produces more good in my life than I’d care to admit. The other side is usually a season of reaping what I’ve learned in the difficult seasons of sowing. It’s a bit like coasting down a zip line….effortless & fun. However, this never seems to last too long at least not in my life.
I have experienced the ups & downs, dead end paths, wrong turns, cuts & bruises, tears of joy, tears of sadness, love, loss, happiness, joy, pain, and most of all amazing grace in every part of it. I can honestly say that my life has been an adventure full of lots of hard obstacles that have made me stronger. The hard obstacles seem to produce the best in me. Its kinda like working out. It is hard at the beginning, but the longer I stick with it the stronger I get. I will reap the benefits if I just stay the course & get the training I need in order to advance in my fitness.
It’s no different with our faith muscles. We have to train them & use them in order for spiritual maturity. Have you ever wanted to give up? Or asked God, Why are you putting me through this hard season? I know I have been asking these questions lately. But I had to re word my questions. Instead of asking why God, I am asking what do you want me to learn through this situation? What is Your purpose in my pain? God always has a purpose and it usually isn’t about us or the circumstances at all. He wants us to grow and mature into who He created us to be in Him.
A few months ago, I went thru a challenging season. It was extremely hard for me on an emotional painful level. It was filled with good times & bad times. It kinda felt like a bipolar roller coaster. I kept screaming, Let me off this ride!! I don’t like the bad times, but God is still good. In Job 2:10 it says, “But he said to her, “You speak as one of the foolish women speaks. Shall we indeed accept good from God and not accept adversity?” Apparently, Job was way more spiritual than me. I don’t want the bad times, but who am I to question what God gives me? He is in control not me. He has a purpose for the bad in my life as well as the good. All is grace even in the midst of my hard seasons. It may not seem like grace at first, but once I decide to willingly go thru it God always changes my perspective & His purpose always prevails.
The painful part of that season was the worst for me. I dont do pain well. I avoid it at all cost. But in order to experience the good times we must also experience pain. I wish it wasnt that way, but God hasnt asked for my opinion which is probaby a good thing…if I were in control we would not have pain or bad times. This seems like a good thing right? Well imagine a life with no pain…seems wonderful…right up until you realize we would not be able to experience love either. I’m not talking about no pain like when we get to heaven, but rather no pain here on earth. We would not care if someone died or broke our hearts. And we would not be safe because we would keep doing the things that hurt us over & over again except we would not know these things were hurting us due to the lack of painful consequences. Pain is good. Pain reminds us of consequences we experienced due to sin in our life. Whether it be our own sin or someone else’s sin that caused us pain. Pain also reminds us that we were loved at one point & lost that love due to death or the end of a relationship. That old poetry quote rings true today, ‘Tis better to have loved and lost Than never to have loved at all.’
During that chalenging season I had my heart broken for the first time in many years. It hurt. It still hurts at times. But I experienced love in a real & tangible way that I had never felt before. It was good…uber good (inside joke). I believe it healed a part of me that I never thought would or could be repaired. God used this relationship to restore me, heal me, & repair a very broken part of me. I thought He was using this relationship to give me a husband. But He apparently had other plans. He revealed several character flaws about myself that I have known, but never experienced myself. I’ve been the giver of cold spells/emotional detachment, but never the receiver. This pain has humbled me in a mighty God sized way. I now know how bad this hurts others because I have experienced the pain firsthand. I never once thought of the other person when I was dishing out my cold spells or cutting someone out of my life due to my lack of not being able to verbalized my feelings & needs.
God used that relationship to show me how to love someone & be loved by someone. I was fully known & accepted by another person in such an intimate way (not sexual). He was fully known & accepted by me too. I felt free to be myself for the first time in a relationship with a man. This relationship came to an abrupt end without warning. I was confused & hurt more than anything. I wanted to be angry & hate him for hurting me so bad and without reason. But I can’t. I won’t. Instead, I choose to forgive him & let go of my pain. God sees, God hears, & God cares about my pain. He healed my brokenness once again. There is purpose in my pain.
Life is an adventure filled with good times and bad times. We can’t control the amount of good or bad, so we might as well just live in the moment & be grateful for the gifts God gives us. Garth Brooks says it best in one of his classic songs, The Dance.
“And now I’m glad I didn’t know
The way it all would end
the way it all would go
Our lives are better left to chance
I could have missed the pain
But I’d have had to miss the dance.”
I could of missed the pain, but I’d have had to miss the dance. Would I still go into the relationship If I knew things would end this way? Probably not. But I would have missed all the good I got to experience thru this relationship. I don’t want to miss out on the good times just to avoid any bad times. God lets things happen for a reason. My part is to trust Him & let go of my plan especially when I don’t understand His plan.
Are you questioning God lately?
Why did You allow this bad thing to happen?
Why didn’t You stop this God?
Remember God is good all the time even in our bad times. Trust He has a plan and a purpose for your pain. He sees, He knows, & He cares about your pain. He will heal & restore you in His perfect timing. He has already began the healing process in my life, so I can say these words to you with confidence in Him knowing that He will heal you too.