We’ve all seen it happen. During the Olympics, an athlete grimaces in pain and falls. In a split second, months of sacrifice and training are made useless, and their hopes are ruined. We know that they can no longer compete. If they are lucky, they might be able to train again and come back in four years, but there is no guarantee.
Sometimes we apply this same discouraging reality to our own usefulness to God. Too many of us believe that our own pain or injured hearts disqualifies us from God’s work. We no longer fit the bill for the believer we feel God likes to use.
When we are hurting or feel numb, it is easy to feel like God is out of reach. However, we are not the first to feel this distance. Jesus Himself experienced this in the garden and, even more directly, on the Cross. He even cried out, “Father, why have you forsaken me?”
Jesus’ Pain Did Not Disqualify Him
In reality, Jesus’s distance from God was not a reflection of His relationship with God. Instead, it was the necessary element needed to work in and through Him–for our good. If Jesus had not taken on our sin and felt God’s wrath, we would not be redeemed. Furthermore, He would not have understood our own struggles.
“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who is every respect has been tempted [tested] as we are, yet without sin.” – Hebrews 4:15 ESV
This also means whatever darkness we are walking through right now may have a greater purpose of revealing God’s work to the world. In His plan, our pain does not disqualify us from His work–it is often the very thing that allows us to be used.
The Goal Is Still in Reach
The goal is to display God’s glory–to point others to Him and His redeeming work. Last night I spoke to a woman who plans to serve God in France. She commented that what the French people need most right now is hope and peace. They are looking for it in the wake of political and ideological turmoil. She knows her job is to point them to the source of her hope and peace. And, truly, this is every believer’s job. Ironically, though, the path to hope and peace often goes directly through pain and disappointment.
Related Post: What path are you on?
Unlike the Olympic athlete, our injuries do not remove us from the race. In fact, most often they necessitate it. If we have never reached outside of ourselves for help and for peace, if God has not shown up in our lives to roll the rock away, we have no Gospel proclamation for the world.
If you feel broken, lost, confused or useless, you are gloriously poised to demonstrate a resurrection miracle. The hope and peace we experience in Christ, despite our pain, enables us to run the race and give glory to God.