Hard Questions and Questionable Answers

A friend asked me a hard question yesterday.

Here’s my paraphrase: “What are seasons full of anxiety, darkness and pain intended for?”

Intended.

Don’t we all ask this question?

What’s all this for? This pain has to be leading somewhere. Isn’t everything for a reason? What does all this mean?

It was a hard question, because I don’t think I had the answer he was hoping for at first. (Which is funny, because I’ve written a book about this exact subject . . . )

Honestly, I don’t think I had the answer I was hoping for.

Here’s why: I don’t know that seasons of darkness and pain are intended for anything, necessarily.

Don’t we all want to make sense of the pain are facing? Each circumstance must belong filed under a purpose, each situation tied up nicely with a bow. But, this world is broken, so we experience brokenness. Darkness is heavy and hard and can feel desperately hopeless.

I don’t think God ever intended us to face darkness and suffering in this world . . . In fact, once sin entered the world and altered our peace, He made sure we would never have to face it alone. 

We have been given an incredible gift to face the darkness in our world:

We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.  Romans 5:3-5

We have a never ending source of peace, nourishment, strength and power to face all the brokenness and overwhelming darkness of this unfinished life in the Holy Spirit. He promises to never leave us.

He is our assurance that the story isn’t over – that God is actively writing toward hope.

Even if these seasons may seem to lack intention, they never lack opportunity.

So, we have a choice:
We can allow seasons of darkness to knock the wind out of us –OR– we can allow the Holy Spirit to cultivate so much of himself in us that the darkness flees.

That’s the purpose. Draw close to Jesus. Learn to hear the voice of the Holy Spirit and receive his comfort. Chase the purpose of God and He will lead you to yours, even through your pain. Pray for God’s perspective. Breathe and wait. Watch the darkness flee.

In seasons of darkness and pain, you can survive, even thrive. You can grow more than you’ve ever grown before. You can become fiercely dependent on God, the way we have always been intended to be.

I wonder if that’s how God will fulfill his promise to work everything together for Good – by working through pain to help us become who He always created us to be, which was in fact, Very Good.

 

We can allow seasons of darkness to knock the wind out of us –OR– we can allow the Holy Spirit to cultivate so much of himself in us that the darkness flees.

 

 

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