Friend, if life has plunged you in darkness right now, I want to encourage you and share with you three spiritual disciplines to grow in a season of pain. Seasons of intense suffering, pain, and sorrow provide the perfect soil for the growth of our faith, endurance, character, and hope.
Our Season of Pain and Unmet Expectations
There comes a moment in our faith walk when we get profoundly confused and frustrated about God’s actions or lack of reaction in our lives. When we simply can’t reconcile God’s love and the intense pain we experience.
We can’t understand why He didn’t come through and gave us the desired good outcome. Suddenly, we find ourselves thrown at the bottom of a dark pit, surrounded exactly by the things we want to avoid: intense physical or emotional pain, despair, grief, anxiety, loneliness.
We struggle to grasp our unexplainable suffering. Frustration, doubt, and anger fuel our thought and pain-ridden questions. We are like the prophet Jeremiah who complains to God, “We hoped for peace but no good has come, for a time of healing but there is only terror.” (Jeremiah 8:15 NIV)
The most painful thing is that we feel betrayed in our expectations to receive something good by following and serving the Lord.
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To Grow in a Season of Pain We Need a New Perspective
What are we to make of our situation? Doesn’t God love us anymore? Does He want to punish us for something? Friend, I want to encourage you that quite the opposite is the case.
The Lord loves us and wants to bless us with good beyond our imagination. The highest good He could bless us is with Him Himself and the precious gift of deeper fellowship and intimacy with Him. Compared to all other things and people we desire and will eventually lose, this is something we will never lose and can enjoy forever.
We need to adjust our perspective if we are going to endure suffering with patience and get out of the pit. Pits, lion’s dens, blazing fires, shipwrecks–they all have something in common. They expose our greatest fears and our lesser loves. We get stripped of our greatest fears and our lesser loves.
Suffering forces us to grow in the purest fear–the fear of the Lord and to invest in our greatest love–the love for God and all things He holds in high esteem.God wants to bless us with the highest good: the precious gift of deeper fellowship and intimacy with Him. #blessing #faith #encouragement #bgbg2 Click To Tweet
Three Ways to Grow in a Season of Pain
There are three ways or spiritual disciplines that help us cooperate with God’s purpose for growth and spiritual formation in a season of pain. These are: directing our hopes to God’s prophetic vision and promises, the discipline of lamenting, and the discipline of rejoicing in the Lord.
A huge part of our suffering comes from unmet expectations and hopes. We long for something and we have usually a preconceived script for how God will meet our needs or what the desired outcome will look like. It is natural to feel disappointed and even betrayed in our hopes when God does not follow our script.
Let’s remember that God is good at being God and humble ourselves. We can not tame God, and it is not wise to predict His actions. But it is wise and recommendable to direct our hopes for a better world and better selves to God’s prophetic vision and promises revealed in His word. Because this is a hope for which we have a guarantee.
The Spiritual Discipline of Lament
The second spiritual discipline is learning to lament. Lamenting is expressing our pain and sorrow while remaining hopeful. It is grieving in another way, “not like the rest of mankind, who have no hope”. (1 Thessalonians 4:13)
Lamentations is a gift in our inexpressible struggles–a way to reconcile our pain with our faith, to give a voice to our suffering, yet still hanging on to our faith. The tears we shed are precious rain for growing deeper roots. We need both the rain of blessings and the rain of tears if we are to spread deeper roots in Christ–our eternal Rock.Lamentations is a gift in our inexpressible struggles–a way to reconcile our pain with our faith, to give a voice to our suffering, yet still hanging on to our faith. #lament #pain #faith #suffering #bgbg2 Click To Tweet
The Spiritual Discipline of Rejoicing
God’s Word is also full of exhortations to rejoice in the Lord, to rejoice always, to rejoice in various troubles and trials. Joy is the healthy nutrient we need to grow. We practice joy when we consciously yield to God and let ourselves be rejuvenated and refreshed constantly in His presence.
We grow even and mostly in our season of pain when we are nourished by the joys of the righteous life and the intimate fellowship with the Lord. “Light shines on the righteous and joy on the upright in heart. Rejoice in the Lord, you who are righteous, and praise his holy name.” (Psalm 91:11-12 NIV)
Do you want to learn more about seasons of pain and spiritual maturity? Check out my interview with Ashley Moore on her podcast Be the Two!
Are you in a season of pain? Which of these three ways to grow spoke mostly to you? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments. If you found this article helpful, I would love it if you share it on social media. Thanks!Three spiritual disciplines that help us cooperate with God's purpose for growth and spiritual formation in a season of pain. #growth #spiritualgrowth #pain #spiritualpractice Click To Tweet