by Rick Warren — March 19, 2023
From Where is God When It Hurts
“Even though Jesus was God's Son, he learned obedience from the things he suffered.”
Hebrews 5:8 (NLT)
You learn those qualities, with God’s grace, when you are going through pain. You have to decide if you’re going to let the pain be a stepping stone to maturity or a stumbling block to spiritual growth.
Once you make a decision to follow Jesus, God’s number one purpose in your life is to make you more like Christ. If you’re a part of God’s family, then he wants you to grow up! He helps you do that by taking you through everything Jesus went through. There were times when Jesus was lonely, frustrated, misunderstood, criticized, and in pain.
But the Bible says, “Even though Jesus was God’s Son, he learned obedience from the things he suffered. In this way, God qualified him as a perfect High Priest, and he became the source of eternal salvation for all those who obey him” (Hebrews 5:8-9 NLT).
If Jesus was made perfect through suffering, then you are matured the same way.
There are some things you learn only through pain. In that sense, pain becomes a gift if you let it draw you closer to God in worship, closer to others in fellowship, and deeper in discipleship.
When Paul wrote to the Corinthian church, he recognized all the ways they had grown through their pain. He says in 2 Corinthians 7:11, “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” (The Message).
Those seven qualities of Christlikeness are developed in you too when you ask God to use your pain to build your character. If you’ll do that, the pain won’t leave you where it found you—it will transform you!