**Originally Published 30 Jun, 2016**
“But if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not feel ashamed, but in that name let him glorify God.” 1Peter 4:16
Today, I want to present two purposes in how God uses our pain.
1. God designs our pain to deepen our love for Christ.
The hardest thing for us in the midst of pain is to reject the lie of Satan that God doesn’t love you. The rationale goes: if God loves you, you wouldn’t be in pain. Satan always attacks the goodness of God. He has been doing it since the beginning with Adam and Eve. He put doubt in Eve’s mind that God is not good. (Genesis 3:5) Ever since when the trial of pain comes our way we question, “Does God love me?” The Apostle Paul took a different approach to his pain. He took an account of his painful situations and said, “I count all things to be loss for the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.” (Philippians 3:8) He also said, “To live is Christ and to die is gain.”(Phil. 1:21) In Romans 8:18, he says, “Therefore, I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” God used Paul’s painful circumstances to cause him to know Christ in a deeper way.
2. God designs our pain to grow our relationships with others.
Many times pain has a tendency to isolate us and drive us to a place of solitude. Solitude is okay for a time, but you can’t stay there. Pain is a relational thing because everyone identifies with it. Our natural response to pain is to retreat into ourselves. God wants to use our suffering in order to experience deep, affectionate love from and for others. In Philippians 2:26-27, Paul tells the Philippians, Epaphroditus – a man from Philippi – became very sick and almost died. “He was longing for them and has been distressed (watch this) because they heard that he was ill.” WOW! It didn’t say they were distressed that he was sick, but that he was distressed because they heard he was ill. That is the fervent caring kind of heart God desires to create in all of us.
Are you letting God redeem your pain for the glory of His name?