We are a tiny splatter of paint on God’s canvas, and often that wee speck of color is all we get to see of God’s masterpiece. However, God’s paintbrush is always painting completing the picture He planned for His creation.
When our little splatter of paint takes the form of pain it’s only natural that we would want to put an end to our suffering. No one wants to endure pain whether it be emotional or physical.
We can’t make sense of suffering especially when it involves children, but on this side of heaven we will endure pain and suffering. “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33).
God has a purpose for everything He does or allows…even suffering. Although there are times when suffering seems senseless we must trust that the Lord has a purpose…even for the senseless.
Suffering produces: Christian character, dependence on God, maturity, and humility. Suffering enables us to become more like Christ, to sympathize with the brokenhearted (to offer comfort), and we can be a testimony or witness to others of what a Christ-centered life looks like…even in the mist of trials, pains, and a wounded spirits.
Suffering produces perseverance and endurance. “We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance.” (Romans 5:3).
“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” (James 1:2-4).
At first glance it’s easy to view pain, suffering, and scars as things to be avoided, but God is able to use all things for good for those who love Him. “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purposes.” (Romans 8:28).
Pain proceeds scars, and scars proceed healing. To some, scars may appear to be just an ugly blemish on the body or soul. But when we are open to healing and restoration they can be a thing of beauty.
When I was thirty-five years old I had to have my appendicitis removed. My children were six, four, two, and three-months-old at the time. If I didn’t wear the scars from that surgery I probably would not be here today. My children would have grown up not knowing their mother. My husband would have lost his wife and had to raise four young children alone. To me these scars don’t just represent healing but beauty as well.
Scars can leave us vulnerable. When one has been wounded by someone or something we can be left feeling beaten, defeated, however we have the power (with Christ’s help) to overcome and live a life glorifying to the Lord.
Scars can leave us believing lies. In elementary school I was the victim of bullying. Cruel words were directed at me. I’ve struggle my whole life to get over the old tapes that were on constant replay. But with the Lord’s help I’m learning to put those tapes on STOP!
Scars can leave us with compassion for others. I have experienced two miscarriages in my life. Although I experienced heartbreak at the loss of my babies; God didn’t leave it at that. Over the years I’ve met many woman who have gone through a miscarriage and I have been able to offer comfort.
Scars can leave us bitter. Scars don’t have to be viewed as ugly if we are willing to forgive. When one meets someone who oozes bitterness our natural response is to get away from them–no one enjoys being around an angry person. But if one chooses to forgive…bitterness can be completely avoided.
God sees the whole picture.