Though my walk with Christ has been a source of great joy and comfort, in recent years I have also battled with rejection, loneliness, acceptance, sense of loss as well as various other hurts and pains. I’ve come to realize that God allows us to go through seasons to not only transform us, but also to use us as vessels of ministry in transforming the lives of others.
Jesus is the only one who can relate to our pain in every way and on the deepest level (Hebrews 4:15). However, as his ministers in the world, we have to be able to follow his command to not only “rejoice with those who rejoice” but also to “weep with those who weep” (Romans 12:15). We can only do this by experiencing life’s pain and seeing God’s goodness through it. Before compassion (1 John 3:17; Matthew 9:36) there must be empathy (Psalm 56:8; John 11:33-35). It is difficult to minister and serve other’s needs when we are apathetic at best. So God can use our pain, not only for our good, but also for the good of others, which ultimately brings God glory.
It’s all a matter of perspective, which admittingly I can sometimes lack. The reason perspective is so important is that in using our experiences to serve others we can end up ministering from our pain instead of out of our pain. There is an old saying that says, “hurt people hurt people”. When our pains have turned us bitter and callous, that venom infects our ministry. It comes out and does not breathe the life into others that God intends. Our pain shapes our doctrine, creed and world view instead of allowing God’s Word to shape our pain. Hurt people may hurt people, but the truth is that “healed people heal people”. Those that have tasted the heartache of life but have seen God’s goodness in it’s midst are the ones that are able to share His goodness with others.
Maybe you are in a place where you are experiencing an immense amount of pain and are struggling seeing God’s sovereign hand through it all. I’ve been there. I don’t shun you. I encourage you to meet with God, ask for His perspective in the midst of the pain and find someone who can empathize and help you heal to the point that you can be a source of healing for others.
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.
You have kept count of my tossings; put my tears in your bottle. Are they not in your book?
When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in his spirit and greatly troubled. And he said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to him, “Lord, come and see.” Jesus wept.
When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.
Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.
1 John 3:17
But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him?