Thankful For The Pain

July 29, 2019

“When God allows the enemy to rend your coat of many colors, it’s because you’re being measured for a new coat: what the enemy meant for evil, God means for good.”

When I heard these words at our district’s youth camp this month, they resonated deeply.

I’ve recently crossed an anniversary of a time in my life that caused me horrific pain. Though I have to admit I could see God’s hand in it all from the very first moment, His plan was hard to appreciate when the crushing pain kept me awake at night and the enemy jeered through my thoughts during the day.

In my most pain-filled days, I saw a friend’s Facebook post where she talked about the hardest, most fearful time of her life – a time that brought great suffering, but that she now looks back on with gratitude. She was sincerely thankful God brought her to and through that trial.

I will never feel that way about my situation, I told myself, my heart welling with pain and tears. Never.

But in grief and in glory, still great is His faithfulness!

And I saw this faithfulness firsthand over the following days, weeks, and months. I was in awe as God literally turned my mourning into dancing, my sorrow into joy. My tears of pain were replaced with tears of wonder and gratitude as I began to see the beauty sprouting from the ashes.

Once, during prayer, I started going over the trial in my mind – thinking of how God had split the raging sea so I could walk right through it – and I began to laugh. I laughed because God was King. I laughed because I was victorious. I laughed because the enemy had failed. I laughed and laughed and felt like a crazy person, but I couldn’t stop.

My trial, this horrific thing during which I had once asked God to just let me die, became my greatest blessing and triumph.

And yes, the day came when I thanked God for the trial – and I meant it.

Oh, the pain will never completely go away. But instead of being dark and bitter, it is bittersweet. As horrible as it was, the trial made me into a different person. The trial showed me what I could endure and still survive. The trial marked a “reset” in my life. The trial rebooted and restarted me.

While it initially caused chaos, the trial ultimately sorted everything out.

It was at a music conference that I first heard Charity Gayle’s song “Great Is His Faithfulness.” Never had a song spoken to me so meaningfully:

“Lift your head. Morning is coming; there’s more to the story.”

Oh yes, there was! With God on my side, the pain was not the whole of the story; a happy ending was coming.

People often quote, “And we know that all things work together for good” – but they don’t realize that this promise is conditional: You must LOVE the Lord and be called according to His purpose in order for all things to work together for good in your life (Romans 8:28).

And loving God requires relationship that comes only through prayer – the kind of prayer where you end up on your face in your prayer closet.

It’s only this kind of prayer that will give you relationship and anointing with God that may one day literally save your life.

So I write this today in gratitude.

Life is not perfect, and it never will be – not on this earth. My responsibilities often stress me out, and the older I get, the more the health problems just keep piling up!

But I’ve seen the faithfulness of God.

I’ve seen the plans of the enemy thwarted.

I know how it feels to have the God of angel armies on my side.

And I wouldn’t trade those things for a lifetime of indulgence and ease.