New Use For Old Pain
By Cynthia Ruchti
Have you found a new use for old pain? It’s a biblical principle spelled out clearly in II Corinthians 1:4. The wording can seem a bit cumbersome if we skirt over the passage without thinking too deeply about it.
It reads this way, beginning with the last phrase of verse three: “…the God of all comfort… comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God” (NIV). In one version, the last part is “with the comfort wherewith we’ve been comforted.”
Deep, glorious meaning in those words. But if your mind gets tangled in the language of it and misses the significance, consider this paraphrase—“He comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, He brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us” (The Message).
The ultimate recycling. God can make good use out of the fragments and broken pieces of moth-eaten past pain. He can convert it into something useful for others.
I asked a couple of friends if they’ve found new uses for old pain. Tongue-in-cheek, one woman—Mary—replied, “I use it as a doorstop.” Ah. It’s an answer that makes us smile, but on the other hand has a heart-depth to it. We can, by God’s grace, use our past pain in a positive way to prop open doors that would ordinarily tend to swing shut.
Another woman said, “I used my pain to make curtains, but they blocked the view of the Son.” There is that danger. If our attention is on the pain, it well may block our view of the God of all comfort.
A third friend, Becky, answered, “Past pain? I use mine as frames. The current pictures are much more beautiful when seen through what I’ve come through.”
Another gripping answer. Pain has a place. One way to reuse and recycle pain is to frame great works of God’s art with it.
PRAYER: Lord, help us to find new, creative, compassionate ways to recycle pain into something useful for others and for Your kingdom.
(He) “comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God,” II Corinthians 1:4 KJV.
Today’s devotional is by Cynthia Ruchti, writer/producer of THE HEARTBEAT OF THE HOME radio ministry and president of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW). Cynthia’s debut novel—They Almost Always Come Home—releases from Abingdon Press May 1, 2010–http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JtZb0by984g. Cynthia writes stories of hope-that-glows-in-the-dark (www.cynthiaruchti.com).