by Rick Warren — January 12, 2023
From Living in the Goodness of God
“We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him.”
Romans 8:28 (NIV)
Grief, loss, and pain are inevitable parts of life. But did you know that God uses these things to help you grow? He does it in three ways.
First, God uses pain to get your attention. C. S. Lewis wrote, “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pain.” Pain is God’s megaphone. You rarely change when you see the light. You change when you feel the heat.
Proverbs 20:30 says, “Sometimes it takes a painful experience to make us change our ways” (GNT).
Second, God brings good out of bad. One of the most famous verses in the Bible is Romans 8:28: “We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him” (NIV).
When you experience a loss, it’s an opportunity to grow in character. You can’t control the pain you go through, but you can decide whether it’s going to make you bitter or better. You can decide whether it’s going to be a stepping-stone or a stumbling block. You have to remember that, even in your pain, God is working for your good.
Third, God prepares you for eternity. The Bible says in 2 Corinthians 4:17-18: “These little troubles are getting us ready for an eternal glory that will make all our troubles seem like nothing. Things that are seen don’t last forever, but things that are not seen are eternal. This is why we keep our minds on the things that cannot be seen” (CEV).
You’ve probably heard me say before that you’re not taking your car to heaven. You’re not taking your smartphone and your clothes to heaven. You’re not taking your career to heaven. But you are taking your character. You are taking you.
God is more interested in your character development than in your comfort. Why? Because you’ll have plenty of time to live free from pain and sorrow in heaven, but now is not the time for that; this is the get-ready stage. This is the learning stage. This is the warm-up act. God uses your troubles here on Earth to get you ready for an eternal glory. That’s a comfort.
When you’re in pain, you need to ask, “What is God doing?” Is he trying to get your attention? Is he trying to bring good out of bad? Is he preparing your character for heaven?
No matter what, you can trust that God will use your pain to help you grow.