by Rick Warren — March 16, 2023
From Where is God When It Hurts
“God is gently calling you from the jaws of trouble to an open place of freedom.”
Job 36:16 (NCV)
Sometimes God uses pain to protect you and guard you.
Pain in one area can keep you from having an even worse pain in another area; it protects you from greater harm. In this way, pain can be a blessing in disguise! For example, a fever warns you of an infection that needs to be dealt with. It’s a small pain that can alert you to a life-threatening illness.
When you’re in pain emotionally, it often means something is out of order in your relationship to God, others, or yourself. He uses pain to keep you from walking into a hidden trap. Job 36:16 says, “God is gently calling you from the jaws of trouble to an open place of freedom” (NCV).
Think of Joseph’s story—how everything in the first 40 years of his life went wrong. He went through all kinds of injustice. He faced racism, was accused of rape, and experienced family conflict. He was thrown in prison for no reason. And he was painfully mistreated year after year. But God was guarding and guiding and growing him and getting him ready for greatness.
In Genesis 50:20, Joseph is talking to the people who brought on his pain and sold him into slavery. Looking back at all that had happened, this is what he says about the pain he experienced: “You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good” (NLT).
God is doing the same thing with your pain. But because you can’t see the whole picture that God sees, you often get impatient.
When you get discouraged because you think everything you have experienced is for nothing, you need to remember John 13:7, where Jesus says, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand” (NIV).
You cannot see the whole picture now. You will not fully understand here on Earth why some things have happened to you—but you will one day. And while you wait, you can trust that God is working and using your pain to guard and protect you. Your pain will not be wasted!