Framing our Pain

Sometimes the hurt and the hard in this life just feel like too much. Am I right?

Sometimes we reach a point where emotional turmoil has continued for so long and runs so deep, it bleeds into a physical aching. We wear it on our faces. We carry it in our bodies. We reflect it in our choices.

Maybe that’s where you are right now.

Are you struggling with something hard?

Something big?

Something consuming?

Are you desperate for peace?

I’ve been there. And so often, I find myself thinking that peace will come…if and when the situation is rectified.

But I know that’s not true. God has shown me time and again, His peace can come—and often does come—before any hint of a solution.

Listen to the words of Philippians 4:6-7:

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

You see, He sends His peace when we most need it. He doesn’t send it to or by fixing hard things. He sends it to guard our hearts and minds through the hard things. In the midst of turmoil, God can reach in and settle our hearts, if we seek Him.

He’s done it for me. And He’s done it not with a resolution, but with a reminder. A reminder that is powerful and humbling. A truth that is both hard and healing. A reality check that sounds a lot like this:

It’s not about you.

Does that knock the wind right out of you, like it does me sometimes? I mean, how can this intensely personal pain, this intimately directed attack toward me…not be about me?

It feels like it’s about me. I try to make it about me. I like to problem solve and offer up suggestions to God.

“You know, Lord, if you would change this or that, you could turn this whole situation on its head. What a magnificent way to glorify your name (while also making me feel better and relieving my stress)! I mean, you can turn this heart and that heart toward you. Everyone will be happy. Life will feel better. Good idea, huh? Now can you get to it?”

I imagine so many scenarios for happy endings. All of them designed to make God known…while ending my troubles. Or maybe, if I’m totally honest, my heart places a priority on the “ending my troubles” part.

But then comes that little power-packed reminder from above—It’s not about you. And I’m reminded:

Whatever my trouble—even though it’s affecting me, it’s not ultimately about me. It’s about something so much bigger than me. Something eternal.

Ahhhh. There’s that peace I was searching for! A purpose for my pain!

For me, that carries God’s peace right smack dab into the middle of my turmoil.

We all know that God uses our experiences to grow us individually and produce good in our own personal lives.

James 1:3 tells us these trials produce endurance in us.

Romans 5:3-5 goes even further saying: “…suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame…”

But sometimes we forget that there. is. more.

In Acts 9:16, God is speaking to Ananias of the newly converted Saul (about to be called Paul) when he says: “I will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name.”

You see, while all of Paul’s sufferings and trials certainly produced character in his own life, that was not their ultimate purpose. His suffering was for the sake of Jesus’ name. He was God’s chosen instrument, and all that his suffering produced in his own life was ultimately for the furtherance of the name and kingdom of God.

It’s no different for us.

Our pains are part of God’s perfectly orchestrated plan.

Our suffering in this broken world is not wasted. It is purposed to bring glory to a perfect Creator…and to bring to fruition His perfect plan for all of humanity and all of eternity.

I don’t know how it works. I don’t have to. All I know is I get to be part of His great big plan for a great big world. His perfect plan for a perfect eternity. That’s an honor and blessing that leaves me on my face in worship and gratitude.

Somehow, He chose me—and you—to work out part of His plan. It hurts at times. But if my suffering can be—is being—woven into His will for the world…I will bear it. And I will worship. And I will give thanks. No matter what my role.

May you, and I, renew ourselves in His promises and wrap ourselves in His peace…right in the midst of our troubles.

“For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.”  I Corinthians 4:17-18

Your DoAhead Friend,


About Dana Boyd

Dana is a lifelong lover of words with a passion for sharing stories of the heart—both her own and others. Her writings draw from her experiences as a woman, a writer, a wife, a mother of three, and a Bible-believing Jesus follower. She is a defender of truth, an avid proponent of common sense and a recovering (often relapsing) perfectionist still learning to lean in to grace. Her writing is an honest outpouring of her introverted heart, driven by a longing to inspire others to feel deeply, think critically and act compassionately. Dana shares her words as a monthly contributor at DoAhead Woman.

Speak Your Mind