21 Jan Painful Experiences
In his book The Purpose Driven Life, Rick Warren states this about our past experiences: “It is the painful experiences that God uses the most to prepare you for ministry. God never wastes a hurt! In fact, your greatest ministry will most likely come out of your greatest hurt.”
That is so true! It is so hard to imagine in our present “I want to feel good and be happy” society that God could intentionally allow me to go through painful experiences to equip me to minister to others! I often see the roadblocks in my life as a waste of time–not the deliberate plan of God to change me to be able to minister more effectively on the other side of the roadblock. Paul put it this way: “He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When others are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us” (II Corinthians 1:4).
The reality is that God desires to use the very experiences we most want to forget to make us ministers of His grace rather than ministering out of our own pride or abilities. God wants us to be real about our struggles and our weakness. And we are to minister to those around us, not in spite of but as a result of those struggles and weaknesses. That’s deep! It is hard to do, because in order to do so, we must admit our weaknesses and faults and be real around the people we desire to minister to, rather than try to impress them with our abilities.
God–as Warren puts it– never wastes a hurt. That gives me hope and confidence in the difficulties I face on a daily basis. God knows much more than I do about what I need to be more effectively used by Him. He knows your need as well, and loves you so much that He will apply the appropriate pressure to shape you into what He wants you to be. That is precious! Thank you, Lord, for your sovereign control even when things appear to be out of control!
ACTION POINT: Take a moment and think back on some difficult times in your life. What did you learn from those times? How have you been shaped and changed by God as a result of having experienced those times? Pray and thank God for that “shaping” and how you are now able to minister more effectively because of it. Look and pray for opportunities to minister out of those experiences.