A community of hope and resilience
I got to thinking about the blog title at Finding Purpose in the Pain. It is there I have the honor of being a contributing writer.
I like to think that we are all a part of this community for a reason.
We are each in our own way seeking to find purpose in our pain. Be it pain from grief, loss, broken relationships, illness, or life’s disappointments.
Some of us are just beginning our journey toward hope. Others of us have been along this path for a while seeking purpose when the waves of pain fill us anew once again.
Some of us are ready to share our story in the hope of encouraging others. Others of us are so fragile that we may run away if anyone gets too close.
No matter where you are along the journey to find purpose in your pain you are welcome here. To listen, to share, to glean hope from others, to pass on your encouragement.
There is one thing we all have in common.
This Choice to Find Purpose in the Pain.
Why do we choose?
Because Christ first chose. And, by his example we must live.
And they went to a place called Gethsemane. And he said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” And he took with him Peter and James and John, and began to be greatly distressed and troubled. And he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death. Remain here and watch.” And going a little farther, he fell on the ground and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him. And he said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.” (Mark 14:32-36)
What are we choosing?
Light over Darkness. Good over Evil.
Look at what it says in Isaiah, for Jesus had to make the same choice.
Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. He shall eat curds and honey when he knows how to refuse the evil and choose the good. For before the boy knows how to refuse the evil and choose the good, the land whose two kings you dread will be deserted. (Isaiah 7:14-16)
Jesus had to learn too. In His choosing, we have now been given hope through Jesus Christ.
How are we enabled to choose?
We may not be aware of it yet, but our Spirit is communing with the Son of God asking, probing, seeking purpose in our desperate circumstances.
Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groaning too deep for words. (Romans 8:26)
Change will come as a result of this intercession evidenced by the softening of our hearts. The gradual changes in our perception of the world around us – what was once hostile, becoming gentle and kind. New lenses will be given to us to perceive life’s lessons. No longer will other’s words or actions seem inflated with ulterior motives.
The Spirit works this way.
Jesus works this way.
For what end do we choose?
We must trust in Paul’s wisdom.
More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. (Romans 5:3-5)
We rejoice in our sufferings. Crazy, I know! How is that even possible?
Do not conform to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. (Romans 12:2)
We must renew our minds daily with the word of God.
Trust the Spirit’s intercession on our behalf.
Trust Christ’s redemptive power.
This choice to find purpose in the pain is hard. Yet, I am beginning to understand that this is Gospel Living – the road less traveled.
Not what the world does or what the world teaches.
How did we learn this? How can we pass on our learning to others? How do we fight to do life this way when everything in our society tells us to feel sorry for ourselves and to become a victim of our circumstances?
We believe in the saving Power of Jesus Christ.
Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:14-16)
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