You may be asking what I mean by the latter. I am writing of times in our lives where we experience pain or loss. The times that are so agonizing we may even enter into a great sadness or depression. It may feel dark. We may feel alone, even isolated from our Savior. But during those times, we pray. Or if we are too weak to do that, we have others praying for us.
We eventually pull ourselves out of these dark times, with God’s help. Either our circumstances change or God changes our perspective. Either way, we do not feel as hopeless as we did when we were in the midst of the trial.
As times goes on, we discover we have changed. Our character is different. We do not struggle in areas we used to. We have gained new emotional and spiritual maturity. But it came at a cost — the price was pain.
But God uses it to change us for the better. We become better individuals, better children of God, better parents, better spouses, better sons or daughters, better friends and better able to minister to others. Whatever the outcome, God used the time of heartache to change us.
Can you think of such a time? Do you hurt so badly now that you may recognize from reading this that you may possibly be in such a time now? Is it feasible to be grateful for the hurt? “Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (I Thessalonians 5:18).
Our pain can be used for good by our Lord. It is our decision, our free will, to be thankful in all circumstances, out of obedience to God.
I did not say be thankful “for” the circumstances, because they are, of course, agonizing. But to be grateful and praise Him despite, in the midst of the circumstances, is His will.
And He can do so much within our hearts and in our character when we trust the outcome.
The Rev. KIMBERLIE ZAKARIAN can be reached her by e-mail at holyhouse9@ gmail.com or by mail at Holy House Ministries c/o the Rev. Kimberlie Zakarian, M.S. La Vie Counseling Center, 650 Sierra Madre Villa, Suite 110, Pasadena, CA 91107.