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The Purpose of My Pain
There Was A Purpose For My Pain
Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now have I kept thy word. Thou art good, and doest good; teach me thy statutes. The proud have forged a lie against me: but I will keep thy precepts with my whole heart. Their heart is as fat as grease; but I delight in thy law. It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes.
We never stop to think that through our pains, our trials, and our hardships that God is working something out in us, that will ultimately work together for good. More often than not, we only focus on where we are, and the pain that we have to endure. No one wanders on purpose outside of their comfort zone, and extend an invitation to be tried and afflicted. We would much rather recline on our beds of ease and contentment, than to be rattled or rustled by the vicissitudes of life.
I rose early from my bed yesterday. I had been given revelations and visions all night long about material to be included in my new book. I was determined to get a cup of coffee, and crank up the computer, while the thoughts were still vivid, almost real, in my mind about how to move my manuscript forward. I had reasoned that I would not allow myself to be disturbed or interrupted before writing a couple of chapters. My mind was fresh, my juices were flowing, and empty pages lay before me yearning to be filled with my writing.
Suffice it to say, that I was at my computer for less than an hour before my phone began to ring. On the phone was a close friend of mine, also a devout man of God, and a Pastor. He had called seeking guidance and prayer. He began to share with me some issues that he had been dealing with in his church. I knew by his tone of voice that he was distraught. His voice was weak, his speech was slow, and he seemed to be choosing his words carefully. By now I could feel that his spirit was low, and his heart was burdened by the things he was having to deal with.
I sat and listened, allowing him to get it all out, to empty himself, before I began to comment or even ask a question. I wanted not only to hear what he was saying to me, I wanted to understand. After he had given me the full gist of his predicament, I referred him to a passage of scripture that spoke to what he was facing. And after some time, we gave ourselves over to prayer.
After hanging up the phone, I realized that all of my motivation to continue writing was gone, and also, that he and I had been on the phone for nearly three hours. I saved the one and a half pages that I had written, logged off from my computer, and began to pray for my friend. During the next two hours, I received two other like calls from friends, who were also Christian, requesting prayer and encouragement.
It Was Good That I Had Been Afflicted
I gave myself over to prayer for my friends. I knew from personal experience, that being a Pastor was not always easy. I knew that being a Pastor meant "taking more than your share of the blame, and less than your share of credit."
Somewhere near two-thirty that evening, my oldest son walks into the house. I was glad to see him, and especially glad to see him looking so chipper. He told me that he had taken the day off, without pay, to go to court to hammer out a legal matter, and had just stopped by on his way home. I asked him how he could be so up-beat dealing with the things that were on his plate.
My son looked at me, and said, " Dad, I've watched you go through."
He said, dad, I remember you borrowing money to put gas in your car, to deliver food to families in need. I've watched you pray for others when you needed prayer for yourself. I've watched you give until you had nothing left to give. I've watched you struggle alone, to do what God has called you to do.
It was at that moment, when I lifted my tear stained face towards the heavens, and said to God, " It was good for me to have been afflicted."
If my pain and hardships ensured that my sons would be strong, it was good for me.
If my sorrows and tribulations meant encouragement for another brother in crisis, it was good for me.
No one could have ever made me believe that all of my suffering would bring glory to God. Now, I was just glad that God had chose to use me. I was just glad that God had allowed me to be a vessel in His service. My first book, " It Took A Cross To Raise Me" was written as a release from the pain that consumed me. Seeing my own son, walk with his head high, his shoulders back, and a smile on his face, in the midst of all he was going through, and hearing the sound of hope and encouragement in the voices of friends made me know, " The Purpose Of My Pain."