Romans 8:28- And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.
The account of what happened to Joseph in the Bible is a very well known one. Joseph was the second to youngest of his siblings and was greatly loved by his father. His brothers were jealous of the relationship he had with his father and thus sold him into slavery. Initially, he was put in a position of authority under Potiphar however Potiphar’s wife got him arrested by falsely accusing him of trying to sleep with her. This caused Joseph to be put into prison but God gave him the ability to interpret dreams. It was this gift that eventually brought him before Pharaoh who then brought him out of prison and gave him the position of being second in command under Pharaoh.
Joseph spent around 13 years in prison altogether. Can you imagine being sold into slavery at the hands of your brothers and the thing is, most of his brothers initially wanted him dead. Joseph was extremely mistreated but his perspective on his mistreatment and pain is what stands out to me.
Genesis 50:20 “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.”
Joseph understood that even though his brother had meant evil against him, God meant for good to come out of his circumstances. Joseph had an understanding that it was because of his circumstance that God was able to deliver many people. Joseph had a perspective that many people don’t have about the evil they have experienced; Joseph had God’s perspective.
Interpret your pain through the lens of God
You must interpret your pain and pain of your past through the lens of God. The Bible says that God is a good God that only does good (Psalm 119:68). So how comes we’ve experienced evil things often at the hands of others? What we must understand is that the devil has his own plan and desire to birth in calamity. He desires to steal, kill and destroy you. However God can use that which the devil planned to harm you with for your good. Your first response to pain must be gaining God’s perspective over your circumstance. People often say what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger but I don’t think that’s necessarily true. What doesn’t kill you has the ability to make you stronger but it is not a given. It all depends on your perspective of your pain, whether you can perceive the good that can come out of it and the steps you take to get whole.
For instance, you may have never had a father or a male figure in your life growing up. This may cause you emotional pain. Due to the enemy’s nature he will try to use this circumstance to birth his nature in you. For one person the enemy may influence them to build a false sense of security in money, sex etc. For another this hole may cause them to constantly try to find love in all the wrong places. God however will desire to emotionally heal this individual and use them to help others who are in a similar position to them. God will desire to manifest himself in this individual and use them to bring lost sons to the Father.
Another example may be someone who went through systematic abuse by the hands of a loved one. Satan will desire for this person to be isolated, to trust no one nor to love anyone. On the other hand, God will desire for this individual to love Him, themselves and people and for them to help others that have been abused or are at risk of being abused. He may call them to create organisations that deal with abuse or He may call them to deal with unspoken abuse in their culture. There are so many different possibilities as to how God will do it but God loves to heal the broken and then send them as a deliverer.
Do you see the potential for beauty from ashes. Beauty can be created out of the most darkest circumstances. God can increase your capacity to love, your strength capacity and your wisdom through painful circumstances. But you need to really understand the beauty in your scars and gain His perspective. You will thank God instead of blaming Him when you gain His perspective over the situations that caused you the most pain.
Beautiful like Japanese Porcelein
The evil that you have experienced and the pain that you have suffered does not make you ugly; it makes you beautiful. It makes you a warrior because when the enemy meant harm, God meant good and you have the power to rise above it. I see it like this, God has a character profile for you and so does the enemy. By responding to pain the way in which God desires you to, it will allow you to adopt and increase in the fruit of the Spirit which is God’s character profile. On the other hand, the enemy wants you to become bitter, unforgiving, angry and so on and so forth but use that which you’ve gone through (by the grace of God) to manifest Christ.
I remember when I was younger I went through quite a hard period where I was hurt by the people I cared about the most at the time. I remember feeling hurt and betrayed in that season. I didn’t get why God allowed me to go through the gossip, the betrayal, the slander and everything else I experienced at the time. Due to me not understanding how pain can be used purposefully I became one with my experience. I began to fall deeper into depression, I became suicidal and I adopted the identity of a victim. Time went by… A lot of time went by and I became stagnant. After a while of being stagnant I really began to reflect, is this experience and other experiences worth me forfeiting my purpose. Is anything good going to come out of allowing this pain to overtake me? As I began to reflect on this I realised that I cannot let pain win; rather I should use pain to win. Looking back now I am thankful that I went through that experience. Was it a nice one? No. But it caused me to gain strength in my love; to have a high level of understanding for others and to be able to empathise with those some people would struggle to empathise with. I gained understanding; People meant evil towards me but God used it for my good. He showed me that He is my sufficient help and that I am a warrior. As I have chosen to accept that I am a warrior in Christ the victim mentality has and continues to be replaced with a victor mindset. That process began because I wanted purpose more than I wanted to be stagnant with pain and that was the beginning of something new.
How bad do you want purpose?
So the question is, how badly do you want to fulfil purpose? It has happened, there was injustice, it was wrong, but it has occurred. Now do you want beauty or ugliness to come out of it? Not progressing means you’ve allowed pain to rob you of purpose instead of fuelling you. You cannot let that happen, you must refuse to let that happen. If you badly desire to fulfil God’s call over your life, you must learn what you need to learn from pain and keep progressing.
Don’t become one with your pain
Some of you have become so one with your past hurts that you can’t move forward. If you make a move, you make a move with that pain, you interpret life through that pain, you interpret yourself through that pain. Someone you desired to love you doesn’t love you, now every single time someone shows you affection you can’t accept it. Why? You have begun to base your identity on your painful experiences but you can’t do that any more. You may have experienced some things but you are not those things. You can’t live and think through your experiences, you must live and think through Christ’s thoughts towards you.Yes coming away from that old mentality can be uncomfortable trust me I know, but there comes a point where you have to say to yourself “Though I have been unloved, I choose to love. Though I have been slapped I choose to hug. I choose to manifest Christ.”
If you don’t walk in Christ, you can’t walk in purpose and if you don’t walk in purpose due to pain then your pain becomes in vain.You might not fully understand it now but as you continue to serve God, you will understand at least in part why God permitted it to be so. Remember for those who love God all things work together for their good, for those who are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).
Pain can be your elevation if you would let it. Pain can strengthen you in your destiny if you would allow it. You can either drown in the waves or have faith in Jesus and walk on water but the “water” is there regardless. Every experience can be a learning curve but will you allow pain to act as a comma or a full stop in your life.
You can’t allow your future to be robbed because of past pain; it isn’t worth it. Don’t allow your formation to be lost by not being able to look forward. Truthfully, you can’t fully walk in your purpose if you cannot let go and hold onto God. How can God elevate and use that which keeps looking backwards.
There’s a purpose for your life and there’s a purpose for your pain. Know that, embrace that and allow God to make that which was created for evil work for your good.
God bless xx