Could Your Pain Have Purpose?
My twins will soon be seven, which reminded me that this is my seventh year on this journey with this new heart;) If you have missed my story, my journey on this path to Him began as my heart failed during the pregnancy of my twins in 2006. It was the start to a very hard season of my life and years of growth and loss, but many miracles and blessings abundant along the way. I pray as this number seven represents that this is a year of perfection and completion and redemption. I was leading a retreat in Austin, Texas this past weekend, and watching a beautiful group of women from a large glass window participate in a forgiveness circle. The women tossed some seeds of wildflowers at this beautiful display of Jesus handcrafted by an artist in Austin. As they tossed these seeds, they offered forgiveness to all with hopes of too receiving forgiveness. He shows mercy to the merciful (Matt 5:7). Then they held hands and one to the other said, I forgive you. He forgives you. It was a beautiful vision to behold surrounding this amazing display of metal so exquisitely revealing this portrait of Jesus. Women living love thy neighbor as thy self as they sought to be healed and to offer it to others.....forgiveness heals us!
As I watched, I reflected on the past seven years and the joys that I have seen, the miracles, and also the mess. How easy in the moment it is to be distracted by pain? How easy it is to look up full of tears asking, "Why?" How beautiful to look back and realize that He didn’t prevent the pain, but He met me there, just as I prayed He did for each of these women planting this forgiveness garden. I was reminded of the story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. King Nebuchadnezzar demanded that they fall to the floor and worship his idols, or to find their fate in a blazing pit. When they refused, out of anger he made the heat seven times hotter than normal and bound them tight. The flames were so intense that the soldiers leading them in fell to their death. But the three men are not only untouched, but find God within the furnace. Could it be four men walking amidst the flames? And one they say looks like the son of man? Yes! The three men walk out from the flames untouched changing the destiny of King Nebuchadnezzar. All were then called to worship the Almighty God of these three men who could deliver them from the flames of such a furnace.
It says to me that He doesn’t always prevent the fire, but sometimes it is in the fire that you find Him closest, revealed! It says too that how you handle the fire can certainly leave an imprint on the faith of others. There have been times when I have failed this miserably, but I look at these three men, and I pray for grace to fall so that when the next one comes, as it will….that I may handle it in a way that makes others say, “I want to know her God! A God that could give her peace and grace and joy during such trouble.” Also I pray that I have the grace to know WHEN further pain comes, it is simply necessary to move me to where He needs me to be. Pain, sweet friends, has purpose! And when we truly get this, we seek not to avoid it or fall to pieces when we find it, but truly seek to experience His loving embrace as we persevere through it to become all that He has planned for us to be. May we never look back and think for one moment that in this life I missed my calling!
Seek. Love. Follow.
In His Wings, Ro