It was only 2 years and 2 months ago…I was sitting curled up in a ball crying on the floor of my bedroom asking God this question: WHY GOD? Why did I have to go through such heartache and misery? Why did some people treat me horrible as a child? Why did nothing ever help me feel better? Why did You not heal me and save me from all the shock treatments, hospitalizations, abandonment, and rape? Why did You let me suffer for so long with major depression and horrendous anxiety and not help me?
I’m sure every one of you has asked this question before about some hard event in your life. Why? This three letter word is so powerful and can paralyze us and get us stuck if we let it. Today we are going to talk about why God allows pain and suffering if He is such a good God. Baker breaks this question into 4 different parts
1. God has given us a free will
2. God uses our pain to get our attention
3. God uses pain to teach us to depend on Him
4. God allows pain to give us a ministry to others
From the beginning, when God created man He gave us free will. He allows us to make choices—good or bad, and, right or wrong. Although our Creator, He gives free will and wants us to choose whether we accept Him or reject Him. He does this because He wants us to love Him freely by choice, not by demand. He does not force us to love Him. John Baker describes this very well by saying: God didn’t want a bunch of puppets.
This free will God gives us is both a blessing and a burden. Unfortunately, bad choices cause painful consequences which can really hurt us and others. My choosing to drink not only hurt me but also my family. I chose to be sexually promiscuous, and it resulted in me getting myself into dangerous relationships and caused a lot of hurt. Free will is given to every one, which means that all the other people in this world get it too. Wrong choices that other people make cause pain not just to them, but to others also. An example of this (which has always been something hard for me to understand) is an innocent family who was hit and killed by a drunk driver. What about the child who was raped, or the teenager who brought the gun to school and shot classmates? In these kinds of situations I always asked how could God let that happen? It happened because God gives us all free will, even that drunk driver, child molester, and murderer. God could have prevented that hurt by taking away that person’s free will. But if He had done that, in order to be fair, He would have had to take away your free will, too. Unfortunately, pain is part of the “free will package.” (Baker)
God uses pain to get our attention. Pain is God’s wake-up call: “Sometimes it takes a painful experience to make us change our ways.” (Baker) Today, without a doubt, painfully hitting rock bottom and running out of options was exactly what I needed to get my life straightened out. I could not hide my physical shakes from alcoholism any longer. I could not go up any higher on my Xanax legally. I was told that if I continued to drink that I would have to leave. Not just losing all the people that mattered most to me scared me enough, but also the physical and mental torment of drinking and mixing Xanax caused withdrawals and horrific hallucinations. All I could see in my future were visions of myself walking the cold sterile hallways of the mental hospital behind locked doors (this time permanently); and losing my family for good finally shook some sense into my hard, thick head! It had to be that drastic and that painful in order for me to finally look up and pay attention.
God uses pain to teach us to depend on Him. Although God did not give us the pain (we caused that to happen), we can learn to trust and rely on His power more holy as a result of our being made “more aware” of our weaknesses. Apostle Paul, out of his pain and experience tells, “We were really crushed and overwhelmed…[and] saw how powerless we were to help ourselves; but that was good, for then we put everything into the hands of God, who alone could save us.” 2 Corinthians 1:9 LB It’s in our deepest pain, we can finally see that we need help. That we are powerless and we need God who is the only one that can save us.
Lastly, God allows pain to give us a ministry to others. Pain in our lives makes us humble, understanding and sympathetic to others preparing us to serve. This is what’s called recycling pain (Choice 8). When we turn to God for healing, He comforts and gives us what we need. He uses our pain so when others are troubled we can encourage them, be sympathetic, and comfort them like God has done for us. Who better to talk with as an alcoholic or drug addict, than to a former addict who has been delivered and restored? What a difference it is to have someone who understands what struggles we have been through and will listen without judging. What a beautiful blessing it is for us to help others and spread the good news of God. Our pain can give hope to others, and heal us also.
I remember the first time I shared my testimony was on my Facebook timeline. I have friends all the way back from when I was a little girl. All those years when they knew me, I had been very good at pretending I was happy; I put on a very convincing show to everyone. I can imagine how shocking it was for many to read. Yes, some people thought it was a foolish move to tell my personal business, while others were inspired. God used me in a great way to reach out to many who had addictions and mental illness that day. I had, and still have many friends and their friends who have come to me and shared with me their hurts and struggles because they felt safe and understood. From then I have been able to give my testimony at my home church, and also shared it on this ministry. Each time it heals me even more and I get to add to the healing! What joy it brings our Father in heaven to see our pain turn into something good. It is so important to SHARE your story! What a wonderful way to praise Him for helping you to overcome your hurts, hang ups, and habits!
Thank You, God, for comfort, love, free will, and healing. Oh Father, what a wonderful blessing it is for us to be able to share our story and experiences, journey, weaknesses, and how You got us where we are today. Lord, please use us and recycle our pain we have had to help and encourage others who may be going through the same thing with gentleness and respect. Today, Lord, may we witness to others and speak to them the Good News of Your mighty love and kindness. Father, we love You so much! In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.
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