I drove to her house that day with a flood of emotion. I was on my way to make a visit, to minister to someone who was awaiting a very difficult diagnosis, but in truth, I needed ministering to myself. I was fighting my own inner battle—a battle of disappointment and resentment. Part of the future that I had always seen for myself, hopes and dreams that I had long cherished would not be coming to pass. My Lord had closed the door…and my pain, my confusion, my sorrow, was great.
As I sat there on her couch, I spoke to her of my mother, of waiting on heavy phone calls, and of saying goodbye. I shared with her lessons from my own journey and prayed openly for all that I knew she would perhaps endure. Soon after, I was alone again in my car, wrestling once more with my own new sorrow.
For a moment, I paused; my thoughts wandered back to the room I had just left and to the conversation shared. I remembered other couches and other prayers—people that I had the privilege to speak to and pray for because of pain that I had endured. I had witnessed countless ways that God had used all of it. And God had not only used these things to help others—He had used them to shape me. I am who I am today—I am where I am—because of that pain. And, as agonizing as it was to endure, at that moment I could honestly say, I would not alter or exchange it.
Alone in my car that day, I began to weep. I had thanked God for that old pain that had taught me so much, but could I thank Him for this new suffering…this ache in the hollow of my heart? In that moment I was reminded…nothing is wasted. He uses it ALL. My pain years before was not for nothing. It had purpose and meaning, in my life and in others. And God has promised that this new hurt will not be for nothing either. He will use it to shape me. I will learn more about who He is. I will have opportunities on different couches with different people to pray different prayers. And someday I will find myself driving home from such an opportunity and thanking God for bringing this pain.
I didn’t know exactly how He would do all that…I still don’t. But I don’t have to.
“Unmask all false hopes, that my one true hope might shine out unclouded and undimmed. So let me be tutored by this new disappointment. Let me listen to its holy whisper, that I might at last release these lesser dreams. That I might embrace the better dreams You dream for me, and for Your people, and for Your kingdom, and for Your creation…Teach me to hope, O Lord, always and only in You.” --Douglas Kaine McKelvey
“For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:17-18