Have you ever wondered if the pain or the hardships that you’re experiencing are purposeless? I have had many moments when I experienced deep emotional pain and crippling physical pain. In these moments, I found myself asking God: “Am I suffering for nothing?” If you’ve ever asked that question, take heart, because you are not alone.
The thing about life is that it will always bring some sort of suffering or trial that causes us pain. I’m not saying this to be negative or morbid—Jesus actually tells us that in this world we will have trouble, but He reminds us to take heart because He has overcome the world (John 16:33). This is a beautiful reminder for us that troubles and pain aren't uncommon in the Christian journey and that Jesus knows and cares about the suffering that we face. Although this is true, walking through pain and suffering is still hard. It is still dark, and we still often find ourselves wondering if what we’re facing is meaningless. I found myself ruminating over this idea of wasted pain for the past few days. I constantly wondered whether or not all of the hardships that I faced served a greater purpose. I wondered if my pain would be wasted, so I asked God, “Am I experiencing this pain in my life just so that I know what it’s like to suffer, or do you have a plan for it?” In the midst of my asking God this question, He taught me two important things about walking through pain in our lives:
1. Our pain is never wasted. Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV) says, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” When God brought this verse to my attention in the midst of my pain, I was reminded that His plans for me are to prosper and not to harm me. His plans for me are good—period. While the pain in my life is hard to bear at times, it will not be wasted and God will use it for His glory. This pain that I’m experiencing now will play a role in the good plan that God has for my life. I may not like how it feels, but I know that God is going to use it for my good. It will not be wasted. The same is true for you.
2. Pain won’t last forever. 1 Peter 5:10 (NIV) says, “And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.” This verse brought me so much comfort when I read it in the midst of my suffering. It was like God was debunking all the lies that I had conjured up in my mind that my pain and suffering was for nothing. I was reminded that not only does God care, but that pain and suffering does not last forever, and God Himself will restore me and make me firm, strong and steadfast when this season ends. I think what is so beautiful about this verse is that God says that He Himself will restore us and make us strong after we have suffered a little while. How beautiful is that? If you’re walking through a painful season of life, please remember that this season of suffering won’t last forever. God said so.
Your pain is never wasted. God has a plan for all of it. The heartaches, the heartbreaks, the emotional stress, the physical stress, the grief, the disappointment—all of it. God will use it for His glory and He will work it all out for your good (Romans 8:28). If you find yourself struggling through a season of suffering and pain, please take heart—your pain will not be wasted and it will not last forever.