the gift of pain

Posted: April 13, 2013 in Uncategorized

“It was hard to be a light for Jesus when I had a dark secret.”

“God wants to use us because of our pain, not in spite of it.”

“Hope helps us read between the lines.” 

~Lori Boruff


I spent today at my parents’ church.  The ladies there put on an annual retreat (they call it a “spa day”) called The Journey.  It has been fun, watching this event evolve over the years.  

We ate beautiful, delicious food.  Enjoyed heartfelt worship.  And heard a number of speakers.  I was struck again today by the truth in Lori’s words above (Lori is a friend and was part of my weekly prayer meeting for a time…and was one of the speakers today.)  The place of pain is so often the place that births our best ministry. 

We heard about pain and struggle throughout the day – everything from a first-person account of the abuses of war in LIberia to multiple suicide references to struggles in parenthood, work, and marriage and more.  These were the places from which women were given tools for ministry, where they were broken and shaped and pruned and grown and changed. 

We think pain is a thing to be avoided.  We plan our lives carefully to dodge it. We take lessons and classes and studies to get around it.  When we are in pain, we often feel like we must be doing something wrong, or like God must have forgotten us.  When those whom we love are in pain, we are desperate to alleviate it.  We don’t usually hope for someone that they will know searing pain, brokenness, or hopelessness.

The Bible tells us, “In this world, you will have pain.”

It says He brings beauty from ashes.

It says what the enemy means for evil, He works for good.

We live in a broken world, growing more broken by the day, all very much in alignment with what is promised/predicted for this world in scripture. 

We get no promise in scripture that we won’t know pain.  We get a promise that He will never leave us or forsake us.  We get a picture of him catching our tears. 

I’ve said it countless times, and I will say it again:  pretty much all the best things I know or possess started with pain.  This has been so across-the-board true that I have learned to be GLAD when a tornado of pain comes swooshing through.  This is a learning place.  A growing place.  If I will keep my eyes on Him, keep my heart trained on Him, keep my hands open and refuse to try and take control of the whole thing, I pretty much invariably walk out of those valleys carrying treasure.  Freedom and wisdom and insight and joy in such abundance that I can’t imagine not sharing them. 

So for every dark secret that haunts you – know that it is an opportunity for miracles, when you let God’s light shine on it.  For every desert place where you have forgotten ever not being thirsty and are sure you will never be quenched again – know that it’s a perfect stage onto which God may walk and maybe even show off a little for you and others around you. 

I’m probably still not going to WISH for pain, for myself or anyone else.  But isn’t it great to be reminded how beautifully He uses it as a sculpting tool?



  1. it is a curious thing, pain, and I love how you have presented it in a new perspective, well, new to me. I have always been one who associates love with pain. I don’t say this proudly, just honestly.

    • Julie Schultz says:

      A beautiful reminder of our true purpose. I have had to release my “secret” this past month. I would say it has and will continue to be, for awhile, the most painful event of my life. I just started a post abortion recovery group. It is “the secret” that has defined my life, consciously and unconsciously for 30 years. Even though the last 15 years I have been in a relationship with Christ, the secret remained hidden. There is a freedom and peace that accompanies the release of our secrets, and I encourage all to release what ever may haunt their hearts and minds. Yes, I know where The Lord is going to have me go, and if I can stop even one woman from having an abortion, Praise be to God! I WILL praise Him through this storm, He will bring me safely through.

    • karen says:

      It’s a very freeing and healing thing that our understanding of love can continue to change and grow, eh Currie?

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