“Bad things happen to everyone. It isn’t your experiences that define your life. It’s your responses that make or break you... I only ever hire staff who’ve been hurt deeply. People who’ve never suffered tend to be shallow and smug about others’ pain.”
— Rick Warren
This is difficult to write, for there will invariably be a person who reads this who feels they’ve not suffered enough. But then there are those who will be encouraged; their present or past suffering means something. It has something of value for life, for God, for others, for themselves.
God never wastes a hurt, they say. And it’s true. It’s no bum cliché. Hurts are never wasted, for they are the starting point for a whole new paradigm for living; one that sees life, and honours it, for what it really is.
In case you haven’t noticed there is an incredible amount and variety of suffering in this world. Before we’re broken we cannot see it, but then God—by our circumstances—turns the volume up; affliction is a screeching siren that cannot be drowned out. There is so much agony in this world that we were destined to wrangle with; not to depress a person, but to motivate and inspire them to make a difference for the purpose of advocacy.
Two Critical and Abiding Facts
1. Bad things happen to all of us.
2. Our choice compels us to respond as God would have us respond or as we would have us respond. One response is harder initially, but it’s the path to life. The other response seems the wisest and to make the most sense—to complain or deny. But the latter response—the commonest of responses—takes us nowhere; we learn nothing. Our choice must be to go with God in the midst of our suffering, notwithstanding how bizarre or painful it seems.
God honours the servant who, in choosing servanthood over being their very own monarch, expresses childlike (not childish) faith, to follow when few else would.
When we turn toward God and not away—upon our suffering for the bad things that occur to us—we are honoured and the ultimate end point is blessing; we will be privileged to help other unfortunates, because, in the grips of our agony, we honoured God by continuing to follow in faith. So, we are trusted to help others in their agony.
God uses hurt people to great effect, but only once they have done the work of their anointing. Those who’ve been broken—and who’ve done their healing work—end up being the most spiritually-gifted servants in the Kingdom. There is no pretence about them. They honour those who come after them in memory of their own suffering.
God invariably has to wait until a person is broken before he can use them to great effect for the Kingdom. Those broken by pain at least once in their lives should rejoice. Their pain has meant something. God uses it. They are blessed to be a blessing.
© 2013 S. J. Wickham.