The word misery is defined as: wretchedness of condition or circumstances, distress or suffering caused by need, privation, or poverty, great mental or emotional distress; extreme unhappiness (dictionary.com).
Notice there are several descriptions of the term misery yet all sum up to one type of experience — a negative one. We all experience misery in distinct ways. What is miserable to one person can be satisfying to another or what we see as miserable others may see as enjoyable.
No matter what your misery looks like, there is a miracle behind it.
Our misery is either a product of our own choices, a God given detour, or a little bit of both. Regardless of who or what brings the misery, God makes all things work together for our good (Romans 8:28).
About a year ago, I experienced a season of misery. I endured a series of unfortunate events. At the time, I didn’t understand why things unfolded the way they did. Thankfully, God has shown me through His love and grace a portion of His plans for my life through these circumstances.
Prior to my season of misery, I volunteered as a youth leader. I ministered, mentored, and led the hospitality ministry for the youth at the church I was a member of. In addition, I was also in the process of establishing and leading a girls’ ministry for the youth.
Within three years of passionately and faithfully serving, one unfortunate event led to the next and then the next. It was there where my misery began. To make a long story short, unhealthy relationships in ministry caused me to step down from serving as a youth leader and eventually stop the plans and preparations for the girls’ ministry I was going to be leading.
The consistency of my misery:
My misery consisted of not being able to do what I love and enjoy, feeling misunderstood, denied, confused and alone. Feeling without purpose or a sense of direction. After agreeing to step down from my position as a youth leader, even though it hurt and I was unhappy with the situation, I chose to trust God. Trust God and believe He was working and fighting for me behind the scenes.
While seeking God’s guidance in all this, I felt led to transition out of that church and ultimately forget about my plans for the girls’ ministry there but not the vision God had given me. The thought of transitioning out and starting over at a different church was difficult. However, I knew this was God’s plan for me even if it didn’t make sense. What kept me going was His peace through it all.
My misery did not end once I transitioned out— I continued to feel miserable with the fact that I wasn’t doing what I was used to— serving and leading youth at church. To be honest, I didn’t like the feeling of starting over in ministry at a new church. I didn’t like practicing being still before God.
It didn’t take me long to realize God simply wanted me to be still and know He was up to something greater than what I thought was good enough.
A few months later, I invited a friend to church with me. She had been struggling with attending church and coming back to the arms of our heavenly father. Nevertheless, I continued to invite her, encourage her, and remind her of how precious and valuable she is to God.
Fast forward a couple months, God did a major work in her life. He healed her from past hurt and resentment that she had been harboring in her heart. She is now actively involved in our church and on fire to seek more of Him. Him who set her free!
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Had I not allowed God to guide me and complete His work in me through this miserable season of my life, perhaps my friend would still be lost. Lost and far away from God. Your misery may look, feel, and even sound different than mine, but I assure you there is purpose. Purpose behind every tear, struggle, and ounce of pain you are feeling.
Someone is waiting for you to overcome your misery, so they too can believe it is possible to overcome what seems impossible. Be encouraged and know that God is at work in your life even in the hard times.
Sometimes, God allows us to go through the pain of misery to bring breakthrough in someone else’s life. Galatians 6:9 reads,
“And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.”
Trust me, enduring your misery is worth it when you witness the breakthrough of others around you!