Going Deeper with the Message:
Purpose in Our Pain
by: Andrew Archer
We have all experienced pain and brokenness in many forms. Sometimes, it’s out of our control: an illness, an accident, or a pandemic. Other times, we are the cause of our pain: a decision that went against our better judgment or a decision that hurt someone we care about. The brokenness we experience can also stem from something someone else did to us: lies, betrayal, and even abuse. No matter what the source of our pain and brokenness is, the same is still true—God doesn’t want our pain to go to waste, and He often uses it for His purpose.
On Sunday Josh shared with us the encouraging words from Paul in 2 Corinthians:
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort. He comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any kind of affliction, through the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ overflow to us, so also through Christ our comfort overflows. If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation. If we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings that we suffer.”
The truth we find in this scripture—both that God doesn’t dismiss our pain, but wants to comfort us and that He wants to bring purpose to our pain—have been pivotal in my walk with Him. I have known immense pain and in that pain have experienced God’s comfort and sovereignty.
When I was a freshman in high school, my mom passed away from cancer. That was the single most painful thing I have experienced in my life. However, God used that situation to draw me to Him. I believe that my mother’s death was the event that brought me to rock bottom, where I found Jesus.
But it doesn’t stop there. God has enabled me to leverage my pain for others. I have been able to sit with others who have gone through the same thing that I have, and comfort them. I have been able to be a living testimony of God’s comfort and goodness in our brokenness. I wouldn’t have that privilege had I not experienced what I did.
God wants to do the same with your pain. He wants to comfort you in it, and give you the opportunity to leverage it for others. Pray for those opportunities, that God would put people in your path that you can comfort and point to Him. Let God bring purpose to your pain.
Living out the Message:
Little Broken Pieces
By Michelle Lemley
There is a beautiful mosaic artwork in Morgantown, WV located along the riverfront rail trail. It depicts a huge tree comprised of individual “leaves” created by members of the community to represent themselves. Standing close to the piece, you can see the tiny pieces of broken glass used by each artist to create their leaf, which was then assembled into the larger mosaic. They are each unique, colorful, and meaningful in their own way, but all you see are the pieces. It is not until you stand back and take it all in that you see the beauty of the larger work of art—how the little broken bits work together to create something bigger than the pieces themselves.
In his talk on Sunday, Pastor Josh discussed the story of Joseph, who endured more than his fair share of brokenness. He was sold into slavery by his own brothers and unjustly imprisoned before being elevated to a position of power that enabled him to save an entire nation (and those very same brothers) from starvation. During his years of pain and injustice, Joseph turned to the Lord to see him through it. And God used all of those hardships for His good, sending Joseph to a place where he could not have otherwise gone.
In moments of brokenness, sometimes it is hard to see past the here and now. It can cause us to want to shut down, to hide from the pain and close ourselves off. But if we can turn to Jesus, who endured more than we can ever understand, we may get a glimpse of the bigger picture. Those who choose to turn to Him in difficult moments can gain a peace that others often don’t understand, and if we have faith in His goodness, the work of art that He is creating for our lives can come into focus. All the little broken moments can work together to become something that never could have happened without them.
“We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God: those who are called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28