When pain threatens to steal your purpose

When my son passed away after a long battle with depression, I was pretty sure I was disqualified to uphold the virtues of a life of Christian faith. It would seem my life would be relegated to the ranks of the also-rans who failed to fulfill their calling. Yet there was something in me that would not allow for retreat into isolation or despair.

My eyes were opened to see those who suffered around me with renewed compassion. I felt a depth of love and grace for people to whom I previously felt no connection. I was compelled to put my hands to useful work for others, to ask deeper questions, to sit quietly with people in pain, and pray for things that never occurred to me before.

There in the quiet, empty in-between I found purpose.

There was a purpose in pain- not a reason or meaning, but a direction to run in. Not my identity, but a parameter that defines my responses to things outside my control. A laser-focused response to things that I previously felt powerless against. A revelation of my connection to others around me, and the depth of God’s love for me.

Pain does not discount us. It is not proof that we are operating outside of God’s will or blessings. It is a solemn rite of passage into an elite relationship with the creator of the universe; one where He reveals himself in sacred ways, and shows us the meaning of redemption and resurrection in a way only grief can expose.

I understand the Apostle Paul when he says in Philippians 3:10-11: And I continually long to know the wonders of Jesus more fully and to experience the overflowing power of his resurrection working in me. I will be one with him in his sufferings and I will be one with him in his death. Only then will I be able to experience complete oneness with him in his resurrection from the realm of death.

 

Transparency is the key to uncovering purpose. Your passions will be stirred to move in a distinct direction only when you are honest about your struggles. I urge you to allow your pain to connect you to the “oneness with Him” that will show you freedom from realm of death.

Personal reflection:

1.       Is there any pain or grief that you have buried that may be the key to understanding your purpose?

2.       What personal struggles do you most empathize with in others?

3.       In what way do you think your passions are being stirred that could indicate your God-given dreams and identity? How might this result in healing and healthy choices?

 

Goal setting and sharing: List 3 goals that you would like to accomplish (at home, at work, with family, etc.) that will allow you to live out your purpose regarding Purpose: