by Rick Warren — July 20, 2023
From How to Get Through What You’re Going Through
“Sometimes it takes a painful experience to make us change our ways.”
Proverbs 20:30 (GNT)
No matter who you are, God’s number one purpose in your life is to make you more like Jesus. To do that, he’ll take you through the same things Jesus went through.
Sometimes Jesus was lonely, misunderstood, criticized, and judged. Some days he was exhausted and other days he needed to be away from people and by himself. Jesus was even tempted!
God didn’t spare Jesus from these things—and he won’t spare you either.
Hebrews 5:9 says, “Suffering made Jesus perfect” (CEV). In this verse the word “perfect” means “complete.” Jesus became complete by going through hard times.
It’s true for you too. There are some things you learn only by going through pain.
In 2 Corinthians, Paul wrote to a group of Christians who had just gone through the wringer of intense persecution, suffering, and pain. He says, “Isn’t it wonderful all the ways in which this distress has goaded you closer to God? You’re more alive, more concerned, more sensitive, more reverent, more human, more passionate, more responsible. Looked at from any angle, you’ve come out of this with purity of heart” (2 Corinthians 7:11-13 MSG).
Paul pointed out seven things that had come from the Corinthians’ suffering. They were more alive, concerned, sensitive, reverent, human, passionate, and responsible.
Wouldn’t you like to have those seven qualities in your life? You need to ask God to use the pain in your life for good and then cooperate with him.
Pain transforms you. It never leaves you where you started. You can choose for it to take you to a place of being bitter or a place of being better.
I don’t know what you’re going through today. It may be a physical, financial, or relational problem. Maybe it’s a prolonged pain that seems like it will never go away. Whatever it is, you can choose to grow in character and become like Jesus through it.
As Paul and the believers around him suffered, they chose to have an eternal perspective, and you can too: “For this reason we never become discouraged. Even though our physical being is gradually decaying, yet our spiritual being is being renewed day after day. And this small and temporary trouble we suffer will bring us a tremendous and eternal glory, much greater than the trouble” (2 Corinthians 4:16-17 GNT).