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Does God Have a Plan for My Pain?

I really resist (or do I resent?) the trite words that are often given as sage advice to someone who is going through difficult times.

Well, just think about poor Aunt Pearl (or your sister, or someone you knew thirteen years ago, or someone you don’t even know). What if you were in her shoes? You can always find someone who has more problems than you do. Be thankful that yours are not as bad as theirs. Just think about that . . . you know, walking in their moccasins for two weeks.

Nope. That’s not what I need to hear. I don’t want my needs or my circumstances to be minimized. They are very real to me. Pressing. Hurting. Stressful. No two problems are alike. Your needs are critically important to you. My needs are critically important to me.

God doesn’t minimize my needs or compare them with “Aunt Pearl’s,” but comparing God’s grace with my needs blows the cobwebs out of my thinking wheels. How big is God’s grace? Big enough to take care of my needs? Oh, yes.

But the difficulty arises both in allowing Him to meet my needs–in His way, in His timing–and in determining what my real need is. I may think it’s money to pay a debt when He would say, “No, Anabel. You need to learn discipline in taking care of the material things I have given you.” I may think my need is release from a circumstance that I am in when He would tenderly admonish me, “No, my sweet Anabel. You need to practice endurance.” I may be praying for release from pain. This, Lord, is my need. Once again He would say, “No, Anabel. You need to learn true compassion.”

So once again I say, “I trust You, Lord.” You have made me and You are now busy conforming me to Your image. I want that. I don’t want the pain and the stress and the frustration, but I can’t have one without the other. I guess it’s kind of like having a baby. It would be nice to have him without the nine months of being nauseated and the discomfort of carrying him around all the time in my tummy, not to mention the intense pain of helping him make his way into our world. But that’s a part of motherhood. I can’t separate one from the other.

My deepest thanks to You, my precious Lord, for your willingness to go through all of these things with me . . . for me . . . through me . . . and for letting me know the expected outcome: to be like You.

We know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.
Romans 8:28,29

About the Author

Anabel spent decades teaching in many contexts through Lifetime Guarantee Ministries. She has taught countless others how to have a genuine intimate faith and a sound marriage. She shared from her heart about living from the heart. Lifetime’s beloved founder and mentor passed away November 7, 2010. Her legacy and influence are timeless and priceless.