Experiencing Wholeness by Trusting God in Our Pain
Is this diagnosis a punishment for something I did wrong?
Is God trying to teach me a lesson from this experience that I’m failing to recognize?
Maybe my faith isn’t strong enough. Is God testing my faith to prove my belief in Him?
Thoughts such as these dwelled within me at the onset of my tumor diagnosis. As I grappled with the purpose behind my pain and suffering, I sought an escape. The conclusion was that God must be trying to teach me something; otherwise, why would a healthy twenty-five-year-old be diagnosed with a rare tumor?
I firmly believed that my suffering was meant to serve a higher purpose; that God had a reason for my pain.
Has your mind wandered to this place? As if by instinct, when unexpected circumstances cause pain and suffering to arise, our human nature leads us to grasp for purpose.
Instead of purpose, I’ve learned to seek wholeness.
Transforming Our Outlook on Suffering
In our suffering, God at times feels quite distant. But it is in our suffering that He extends an invitation to fully reveal ourselves to Him, and in turn, fully know the true extent of the grace and peace He offers.
Although we may not always feel it, suffering is a place where God is present—a place where he longs for us to meet Him. Suffering is a place we can be made new, a place where wholeness may be found as we experience the full extent of God’s love for us.
As we earnestly seek God and bring Him into the midst of our pain and suffering, He meets us and walks with us through our fears, doubts, frustrations, and uncertainty. God does not shy away from our fully human selves but meets us in our weakness. God fills us with Himself when we open ourselves up to receive his grace and love. In our suffering, we experience God in new ways that teach us to depend and trust in Him like never before.
Seeking Wholeness Over Purpose
Jesus suffered so that we may fully live (John 10:10). God was present in his pain, and He is present in ours.
When Jesus felt he no longer had the strength to endure, he called out to God saying, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done” (Luke 22:42, ESV).
May we too turn to God in our weakness, knowing that He will meet us there. May we experience wholeness by acknowledging that God is not removed from our suffering, but present within it.
Instead of expending effort to find purpose in the pain, may we simply call on God’s presence to fill in our lack. When we acknowledge God’s presence, we acknowledge the grace and peace he offers.
“We were made not primarily that we may love God (though we were made for that too) but that God may love us, that we may become objects in which the Divine love may rest ‘well pleased,'” shares C.S. Lewis in The Problem of Pain.
God loves us. He created us so that we may be loved by Him. He sent His son to suffer so that we may truly live.
We don’t have to try to explain away our pain.
Suffering is not a single point in time encounter. We will face pain and suffering all throughout our lives. When we abide in Christ, we don’t have to view pain and suffering as a place of lack, but as a place we may be transformed into our fully whole selves.
Suffering presents us with the opportunity to encounter God’s love in a new way that leads us not to a place of purpose, but to a place of wholeness filled with grace.