In all honesty, this post was a little hard to write.
You see, even though I have only existed for a brief amount of time, I am no stranger to pain. I may not be able relate to the same pain that you have, but I do know what it is like to feel the sting of loneliness.
My heart has been broken from toxic relationships. This soul of mine has been broken and shattered as I have struggled through 6 years of a mysterious illness that causes paralysis in my arms and legs. Midnight breakdowns are not a novel experience to me.
You and I have brokenness and pain in our lives. It may not look the same. Others may not even know that you are hurting. But I guarantee we have both had the same questions…
“What is the point of my pain?”
Why is God allowing pain in my life?
If He is a loving God, why did this happen?
…Any of these questions sound familiar? I know I have had these, and definitely on more than one occasion. But instead of tackling these questions on my own, let’s look at a common story from the God’s Word and see how we can apply it to our questions.
A Shepherd Boy
We have all heard the story of Joseph that starts in Genesis 37. When we are introduced to Joseph, he is a 17 year old shepherd boy who is the youngest of his brothers and is the favorite of his father. Joseph’s brothers become so jealous of him, that they make a plan to sell Joseph into slavery and fake his death. At 17, Joseph is sold into slavery and sent to a country that was not his own to serve a people he did not know.
Joseph is sold into slavery and is purchased for one of Pharaoh officials.
As Joseph works in Potiphar’s house, we are told that, in Genesis 39, God was with Joseph. Potiphar was so impressed with Joseph, that he made him the overseer of his house and put him in charge of all he had.
But, of course, as things started to improve for Joseph, Potiphar’s wife tried to convince Joseph to have an affair with her. He ran out of the house, naked, in an attempt to resist her. Seeing an opportunity, Potiphar’s wife accused Joseph of attempted rape.
Joseph is put in prison.
But even in prison, God was with Jospeh!
But the LORD was with Joseph and showed him steadfast love and gave him favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison. And the keeper of the prison put Joseph in charge of all the prisoners who were in the prison. Whatever was done there, he was the one who did it.” Genesis 39: 21-22 (ESV)
Now, the Bible does not state how much time had passed, but eventually the cupbearer of the King of Egypt and his baker were put in prison as well and placed under Joseph’s charge. One night, both the cupbearer and the baker were troubled by some dreams that they had. Joseph interpreted their dreams… One man was going to get his job back and the other was going to be killed. If we read a little further, we see that Joseph’s interpretations were true.
When the cupbearer received his job back, Joseph asked that the man would remember him and mention him to Pharaoh so he could get out of the prison. However, the man fails to remember Joseph.
Joseph is forgotten.
2 years later, Pharaoh had some troubling dreams. He was so distraught over his dreams that he called for all the magicians and wise men of Egypt to interpret them. But no one could. It was then (finally!) that the cupbearer remembered Joseph. The Pharaoh sent for Joseph an he was able to do what all the wise men and magicians couldn’t do. Pharaoh was so impressed with Joseph, that He made him second in command of Egypt.
Joseph was thirty years old when he entered the service of Pharaoh and went through all the land of Egypt.” Genesis 41:46 (ESV)
Joseph was 30 years old! For 13 years, he went through trial after trial. I’m sure that his heart was broken whenever he was betrayed by his brothers. Whenever he was accused of rape and put in prison, I bet he was lonely and discouraged. I would bet that whenever the cupbearer forgot about him, that Joseph believed he would spend the rest of his life in his hopeless situation.
However, in each of these trials, God was preparing Joseph for the good He had in store. Each of these circumstances prepared Joseph to be the leader God intended and planned for Him to be. 13 years after being sold into slavery, God redeemed Joseph’s pain and heart break.
Do I believe that God wills and intends for us to go through pain?
Absolutely not. Pain was never a part of God’s original design. However, I do believe that, in His sovereignty, He redeems and restores our brokenness and pain that is a a result of sin’s effect on the world.
God took Joseph’s pain and redeemed it. Joseph’s pain prepared him for the good God had in store for him. God never wastes anything. Not even your pain. Click To Tweet
What about you? Are you struggling through some pain or some brokenness? Is it hard to see God’s hand during your circumstance? Just hang on. God is not finished with your story. We have a God who loves to redeem and create beautiful things from our brokenness. God never wastes anything. Not even your pain.