The Preparation of Pain

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By: Laura McGrew

I never saw that coming.” Does that statement sound familiar to you? Have you had experiences you never expected – much less wanted or enjoyed? By the time we are adults, most of us have experienced enough heartaches or hair-raising moments to fill a book. The question is: do we recognize the immense value in those rich, unexpected experiences? 

In his second letter to the Corinthians, Paul offers one purpose for what we’ve gone through, and that is to comfort others. “He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.” (2 Corinthians 1:4). 

Perhaps our pain has made us sensitive to the pain around us. 

I want to ask you a simple question, “What burdens your heart”? What problem are you aware of that you cannot stop thinking and praying about

Many years ago, we were empty nesters. Our two sons were grown and married, and we had two grandchildren we thoroughly enjoyed. 

Then God whispered something to my heart. Something that would forever change our family.

Adopt a foster child.” 

The first time I shared that with my husband, he thought I had lost my ever-loving mind. Talk about not seeing that coming. He quickly dismissed the idea as preposterous, and we went about our lives. 

Until God whispered it again, and I kept seeing more about foster children needing forever homes. Each time I brought it up in conversation, my husband could list all the reasons why this was impractical at this stage in our lives. All his concerns were valid.

Three years after the first time I said, “I think we should adopt a foster child,” I got a different response.

This time he said, “I agree.

That was 12 years ago, and now I can’t imagine life without our only daughter. That entire process was one we never anticipated or planned on yet was one of the most significant experiences for her and our whole family. 

When we obeyed God’s prompting, however impractical it seemed, we filled a huge need for one young girl. You are no different. God wants to use you to meet a need someone else has. 

Have you sensed a whisper, a nudge, or a thought that keeps coming back? Someone or a group of people that need help, but you have a list of reasons why this thought makes no sense. 

You don’t have time. You don’t have the right experience. You don’t have the resources to help.

Trust me; I get it. The great news is, none of that is essential if God is calling you to step out of your comfort zone and step into someone else’s story. He will equip you with whatever you need. 

Moses did not feel qualified or competent to lead the people of Israel when God called him (Exodus 3). Paul (formerly known as Saul) zealously persecuted Christians before God called him (Acts 9). Esther was an ordinary Jewish girl until God called her to a position of power and influence that led to the saving of her people (Esther 4).

Chances are, God is not calling you to lead an entire nation to freedom. But he may be burdening your heart with someone else’s need. As Matthew West points out in his song, “Do Something,” when we question what God is doing to solve the problems around us, he simply says, “I created you.

Is it you? If God has placed a burden on your heart, it just may be you!