When I think back on this past month, I’m amazed at all that has happened. In such a short time, God has stretched and grown me in so many ways. I’ve been reminded of the importance of Christian friends, the encouragement of others, the pain of loss, and the growth God provides through trials.
In our lives, it’s very easy to become numb to the pain in the world around us. It seems like we hear it every day. Somebody’s mom is ill, a friend’s grandpa was in an accident, a distant acquaintance lost a job. Even when it comes to death, it’s easy to feel numb. Death is something that often feels so distant; and even when we hear about it, it’s hard to grasp because we think of it coming 60 years from now. But when it’s someone close to you, that numbness disappears and the pain and shock hits you like a train.
A month ago today, me and many, many other people lost a good friend, Cole Bailey. The pain of loss was something I had never experienced. Never in a million years would I have expected my first trip home from college to be for that reason. Seeing friends and family mourn the loss of a beloved person brought tears and sorrow all over again.
But through this, God has been working (like always). I would never wish for anyone to go through the loss of a loved one. But God uses the joys and the pains, the good and the bad, to shape who we are and who He wants us to be. From going through loss, we have the opportunity to minister to others in a way that many others can’t. God has used this time to remind us of many things.
First, He reminded me of the brevity of life. I don’t know what each day might bring forth, am I living in a way that I ought with the short time that I have?
Second, life is a gift—never take it for granted. Sometimes I get so caught up in my schoolwork, social life and various issues of life that I forget about the joy of simply living. Why is it that we as humans complain so much and rejoice so little? We need to be grateful in the small things of life and God will make us more aware of the good things in life.
Third, God uses pain to help us help others. C.S. Lewis said in his book The Problem of Pain, “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks to us in our conscience, but shouts in our pains. Pain is God’s megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” Everyone experiences sorrows and loss on different levels in life. And God promised to use them for our good.
Through certain trials, God opens the door for us to serve Him and His people in unique ways. In a book I’m reading for school, the author called these people “Wounded Healers.” It’s not easy to open up to others about the bad experiences or hurt we’ve experienced in life. But we all have wounds from the trials of life, will we let God use those trials to help others navigate through theirs?
Fourth, community of good friends is crucial. I remember minutes after finding out about Cole’s death, being surrounded by guys on my floor praying for me, his family and people back home. I knew that the peace of God that came was a result of their continued prayers and encouragement in my life
Fifth, we need to genuinely care for others. Over the past month God has convicted me of my apathy. I asked people for prayer and wanted them to be there for me, but how often have I been there for others? Do I love people enough to check in on them, see how they’re doing, and pray for them?
I’m grateful for how God has worked in my life and in many others this past month. He’s shown me the importance of prayer, the need for genuine investment in others’ lives, and the reassurance of His plan which is far greater than mine. So the question I’d like to end with is this: what are you doing with your pain?
We’d all be lying to say we don’t have scars from trials we’ve been through. The question is, are we keeping it bottled up, or are we letting God peel our scars back and reveal them to help others? Whatever life throws at us, we can rest assured in God’s grace to sustain us through the storm.
My prayer is that I will let God use me to be a “Wounded Healer” for someone else and that He will continue to sustain those that are still grieving. Scars don’t go away, but they can be healed. Will you let God heal yours by giving over your pain to Him?
“Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith. Remember that your family of believers all over the world is going through the same kind of suffering you are.In his kindness God called you to share in his eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus. So after you have suffered a little while, he will restore, support, and strengthen you, and he will place you on a firm foundation.” ~ 1 Peter 5:9-10