The Right Question to Ask When You’re in Pain

“This is the reason why we never collapse . . . These little troubles (which are really so transitory) are winning for us a permanent, glorious and solid reward out of all proportion to our pain.”

2 Corinthians 4:16-17 (Phillips)

When life becomes really hard, most people will eventually ask, “Why is this happening to me?”

But that’s the wrong question to ask when things get dark. Instead, try asking, “God, what’s your purpose in this?”

The Bible says in 1 Peter 1:6-7, “You are temporarily harassed by all kinds of trials and temptations. This is no accident—it happens to prove your faith, which is infinitely more valuable than gold” (Phillips).

Nothing comes into your life accidentally. God does not cause evil. But he can bring good from every single thing, even from evil. Trials reveal your character, your maturity, your security, your values, and your faith.  

One of the major figures in the Bible is the apostle Paul. He devoted his entire life to serving God. But, in many ways, Paul’s life was worse than you can imagine. He was stoned, shipwrecked, beaten, left for dead, imprisoned, whipped, and robbed, and he went thirsty and hungry.

But he was never bitter. Instead of asking, “Why me?” he looked for and trusted God’s purpose. He learned to trust God in his problems, even when he didn’t understand.

What is the secret to his persistence? “This is the reason why we never collapse . . . These little troubles (which are really so transitory) are winning for us a permanent, glorious and solid reward out of all proportion to our pain” (2 Corinthians 4:16-17 Phillips).

Like Paul, you can hold on to hope because God has a purpose and even a reward that exceeds your pain. 

When Jesus died on the cross, his followers thought it was a senseless tragedy. They thought God had made a mistake! But what they couldn’t see was God still on his throne, carrying out a bigger purpose. 

After Jesus’ resurrection, he appeared to the disciples and said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you” (John 20:21 NIV).

Just moments before, they could see no reason for their pain. But here Jesus was, telling them that God was giving them a new assignment that was part of a grand purpose.

God’s purpose for your life is always greater than your problems. Trust him. He loves to turn crucifixions into resurrections. He specializes in hopeless situations.

Talk It Over

  • During what circumstances in your life have you asked, “Why me?”
  • When have you seen God bring good out of very difficult circumstances?
  • In what part of your life do you need to start asking, “God, what’s your purpose?”

Give hope, prayer, and encouragement below. Post a comment & talk about it.