Finding Purpose Through Pain

July 11, 2023

Hi, I’m Brittany
I'm a Christian Counselor, Couples Therapist & Christ-Centered Yoga Teacher. 

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Last fall, I hurt my back, simply by bending over to kiss my son on the top of the head…crazy, right!? Since then, I have been dealing with nagging back and sciatica pain that has ended me in physical therapy, chiropractic care and doing dry needling. I began finding myself asking God, why…why me, why now, why isn’t it resolving, and for what purpose? Whether your pain is physical, or emotional, I’m sure you’ve probably asked these questions before too. Although these last several months have been difficult, I know that God is working through me. Whether we like it or not, pain serves a purpose in our lives.

The Purpose

Pain causes us to face parts of ourselves that we otherwise choose to ignore. Through pain, God can mold us into better people, strengthen us and encourage us to trust Him more. He can, and will use our pain for his glory, honor, and purpose. It is through our pains, obstacles, doubts etc, that we find God.

Romans 5:3-5 “Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.”

James 1:2-4 “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

How is God working in you currently, and what pain can you learn to embrace?

You’re Not Alone

Pain can be a very lonely journey. It may feel like no one quite gets it. You may find yourself internalizing what’s going on in your life because you’ve lost hope in trying to find someone who understands or can help. God knows your pain. Jesus came to earth and suffered beyond what we can imagine. He sees you and cares about you.

Isaiah 42:16 “I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them.”

Find the Good

Darkness can come in the form of anxiety, depression, pain or any physical, mental or spiritual complaint. When we are in pain, it is really easy to get engulfed in it. Sometimes we don’t understand why certain things are happening, or for what purpose. We might notice we are grumpier or that our thoughts are mostly negative.

The Bible encourages us to keep our sights set on what is good. It’s all about perspective. We can choose to focus on the bad or we can choose to see the good.

Philippians 4:8-9 “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put into practice. And the God of Peace will be with you.”

Don’t lose sight of the bigger picture, learn from your situation, accept what is out of your control and focus on what is within your locus of control. Strive to maintain a positive attitude so that you can surpass challenges and explore how to grow through the pain.

Praise through Pain

When we are able to give thanks and praise through the pain, it takes the focus off of our circumstances and reprioritizes our perspective. Research suggests that there is a correlation between gratitude and the part of the brain that is associated with pain relief. Gratefulness not only improves overall well-being, but also improves sleep, reduces depression and anxiety, lowers stress levels in the body, and strengthens relationships.

Psalm 69: 29-33 “But as for me, afflicted and in pain, may your salvation, God, protect me. I will praise God’s name in song and glorify him with thanksgiving. This will please the Lord more than an ox, more than a bull with its horns and hooves. The poor will see and be glad—you who seek God, may your hearts live! The Lord hears the needs and does not despise his captive people.

So next time you find yourself wondering “why” try these four simple steps:

  1. Identify what is causing you pain, physically, emotionally, spiritually, etc. Acknowledge it without judgement. What you are experiencing is real but remember that you are not alone and you do not have to get stuck.
  2. Look for ways to reframe the situation. Can you identify anything that you’ve learned or look for the silver lining?
  3. Practice gratitude. Identify what is going well and be thankful for the things that you do have.
  4. Keep moving forward.

I don’t know what you’re experiencing right now, but I do know that God is with you. Do not give up. You are not alone. You are not forgotten. There is hope and your suffering is not in vain.

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