Faith, Grace, Hope, Pain and suffering, promises

Passion Through Pain

I was recently having a conversation with a dear friend whose marriage is struggling. As we talked through the issues they are facing, she shared just how deeply the pain is affecting her. She talked about her dreams—dreams of an extraordinary life, dreams of being used mightily for God’s kingdom—and she wondered aloud how those dreams could possibly come true with her current situation.

“What if,” I began, “God’s path to fulfilling your dreams is through the pain you are experiencing right now?”

We continued talking, and I told her about my dreams. Since the age of 20, I have felt that God had a writing and speaking ministry for me. I have seen his hand provide experiences for me that would prepare me for the fulfillment of those dreams.

But, those dreams have lain dead and dormant for many years.

In all reality, I had given up on those dreams. I had accepted that my role was that of wife and mother. I had chosen to serve quietly, faithfully beside my husband, content to be the strong but silent pastor’s wife in the background. I felt that my highest calling was to support the ministry that God had given my husband.

When God plants a dream in your heart, however, he refuses to let those dreams die. They may lie dormant, unfulfilled for many years. You may forget about them, become content to live your quiet, ordinary life. You may settle for the status quo, believing that your best years are behind you.

But God has not forgotten you. He has not forgotten the dreams planted in your heart. He will not let your dreams go unfulfilled.

Be prepared, however. Does God ever do things the way we expect? Or does he take the most unexpected, unconditional route to achieve our dreams?

I am finding that God often uses the most painful circumstances of our lives to fulfill our dreams. He creates passion in us by walking through the pain. He molds us into his image, igniting a burning passion that will not die. He gives purpose to our pain.

Twenty years ago, my dream was to write and speak. I never dreamed that God would use adultery and divorce to give me a voice. I never dreamed that he would allow everything to be ripped away from me so that I could be prepared to be a voice for him.

When we are tempted to believe that our dreams are dead, we must remember the promises God has given us.

If you will search eagerly for God, plead with the Almighty, If you are pure and do the right thing, then surely he will become active on your behalf and reward your innocent dwelling. Although your former state was ordinary, your future will be extraordinary. Job 8:5-7

Job’s “friends” were not the most encouraging in his time of distress, but I love this little gem! His friends tried to convince him that somehow the calamity that had befallen him was because of his sin. Of course, we know the back story. We know that God had a conversation with Satan and hand-picked him to be tested. God saw his heart, his purity, his righteousness, and he knew that Job would pass the test.

And what happened to Job at the end of his life? He proclaimed, “My ears had heard about you, but now my eyes have seen you” (Job 42 5). Through the trials of this life, God gave him a deeper, more intimate relationship with the Savior. And, the second half of his life was more blessed than the first (Job 42:12).

For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. Ephesians 2:10

God has created you for good things. He will stop at nothing to accomplish his purpose in you and through you. Almost every biblical character went through a period of preparation that involved pain, isolation, learning dependence on God. Elijah was fed by ravens at the Kerith Brook. Joseph spent years in bondage and prison between the birth of his dream and the fulfillment of his dream. David spent years running from King Saul after he was selected to be King of Israel and the time he took the throne.

Your trials are accomplishing a work in you, an eternal work that God will use to prepare you for the great purpose he has planned for you. Maybe, just maybe, God will use this season of pain to give you the future you desire.

Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. Ephesians 3:20

Our perspective is limited. We are not all-knowing, all-seeing. But our God is. You see, he can see our past, our present, our future. He can take and weave it all together into a beautiful mosaic. He sees the final picture even when we can’t.

As a matter of fact, we can’t even begin to imagine the way he will fulfill our dreams! It will blow us away!

Here I am, my dreams of writing and speaking have been dormant for 20 years. I had almost given up. And yet, after walking through divorce and adultery, God has prepared me for an amazing future. He has used my pain, my isolation to create a heart for those walking through marital pain. He has given me new compassion, a new outlook on life. And, today I see this amazing ministry unfolding in front of me.

When I started this little blog two and a half years ago, I hoped to have a few readers. Never in my wildest dreams did I think that I would have readers around the globe, be writing for a variety of Christian sites. Never did I imagine that I would be a guest on radio shows, have invites to speak in Kenya, be honored to speak at the upcoming single mom conference.

I am blown away by God’s grace, humbled by the doors opening before me. I am amazed at God’s goodness on my life. I am blessed by every email, every comment, every view on my blog.

God has begun to fulfill my dreams, but it came through immense pain.

Are you facing pain? Perhaps it is through the pain that God will give you passion. Perhaps it is through the hurt that God will fulfill your dream. Search for him. Plead with him. You won’t be disappointed!

30 thoughts on “Passion Through Pain”

  1. I preached a message in Thailand in March on David and Bathsheba . I have since subscribed and read your blogs and was astonished to see that you were using similar words and concepts and that you posted this in March on David and Bathsheba . We don’t know each other . I have never heard of you before . The Holy Spirit in March was obviously at work around the world directing our thinking .Rick Warren at Easter also preached on the subject of pain. I can only conclude God is certainly at work in your ministry. We are greatly encouraged by your messages.

      1. I am also going through a pain of the demise of my beloved Husband.Now I am finding a good relief in my GOD in whom I trust and love.It is a never ending friendship

      2. You are so right! The pain is immense, but his love and grace are even greater. No better place to experience him than in the pain of life. He is faithful! Praying for you. He is near the broken hearted.

  2. Isn’t it something that each day we ask God to work in our lives and then we look at our life and think that what’s happening can’t possibly be for our good, never imagining that what we think is a mistake could be the very path to God’s glory! Thanks for sharing your hard won insight.

  3. Hi Dena, Am very pleased with this document have read today. So much blessed and happy to hear that you have been invited to Kenya my land.Am a Kenyan origin who lives in Nairobi Kenya please if you come i would like to meet with you face to face my no is 0724168652 please if you come to Kenya i would love to meet with you.Thanks for this inspiring message am very much blessed my dear.

    1. Hi Lydiah! I am humbled and honored. As I told the pastor who invited me, right now I don’t see any way I can get to Kenya. However, that’s in God’s hands. If God somehow makes that possible, I will absolutely let you know!

  4. Dena, this is so beautiful! Thank you for these words of encouragement today.
    “And God will use ALL things for His glory and our good!”

  5. I cannot begin to tell you how the Lord spoke to me through your blog! The Lord has had me in the wilderness for the past 16 months- and He has taught me things I would never have learned had He let me stay where I was. My Kerith Brook has been my health. I have Liver disease, a blood disorder, Diabetes and several other medical conditions. We have always been very involved in our church, we head a ministry there and been busy serving the Lord. 16 months ago my health took a serious nose dive and I am not able to even attend church at this point. I have been sick for a long time, but nothing like this. At first I thought I was somehow to blame- I had some of my brothers and sisters in Christ telling me I didn’t have enough faith, I needed to read “healing” Scriptures, I needed to claim my healing and “walk in it.” Now, I completely believe that the Lord heals, but it felt like I was going to have to EARN my healing and I knew in my heart that we don’t have to jump through hoops to be healed. Unable to get out to do anything I began to spend more and more time with the Lord in prayer. I’m a Prayer Warrior and an Intercessor- for many years, but it wasn’t until I got sicker that I realized that along with praying for others I needed to pray for myself and to seek the Lord’s will for me. I was so used to praying for others that I forgot to pray for myself. This has been the most isolated, painful trial I have had to endure- and I have been through so much pain and suffering and sorrow in my life. But this time was different. I began to really seek God’s Plan for my life and He didn’t disappoint me! He’s showing me how He is going to use me in new ministries and that HE will be my Strength! You are so right about Him using pain and suffering to teach and prepare us for what is next in our lives! He detests this “doctrine” of blaming the afflicted for their pain and suffering and He has shown me how He’s going to use me to give encouragement and hope to saints who are suffering! He wants them to know He has a Plan and a Purpose for the trials in their lives! Had I not had this setback I might never have spent the time with Jesus I needed to find out His next plans for me! Thank you for your posts! I CLEARLY hear the Lord speaking to me and encouraging me to keep going and to lay hold of what He’s calling me to now! I pray that the Lord will continue to use you to uplift and encourage the Body of Christ! God Bless you!

    1. What a beautiful testimony! I know he will use your trials, so you can comfort others with the comfort you have received. How often does he turn a mess into a ministry? While I never dreamed I would be divorced, I can truly say I wouldn’t trade this journey for anything! What I have gained far outweighs any pain I have experienced! Hang in there! One day he will have you put together and on your feet for good (1 Peter 5:10)!

  6. I read your article “Is God Training You Like He Did Elijah?” and this one “Passion through Pain” and I am so glad I did. I am currently in the wilderness and God has been speaking and I’ve seen His hand at work since day one of this beautiful journey of being transformed into the likeness of Christ. It is such an honor to suffer for His glory and to be a vessel that houses the Holy Spirit to be used to advance God’s Kingdom. He is doing a great work through you and He has encouraged me through your writings. I love knowing that He will not leave His work unfinished and He will never give up. I am excited to know that I will be used to do a great work to glorify Him who lives in me. All praise to the Lord Most High!

    1. He who began a good work will be faithful to complete it. What a joy to know that WE are his good work! The pain and loneliness can be overwhelming, but his grace and mercy are far greater! Enjoy your time at the Kerith brook! And know that he is preparing you for a showdown!

  7. Your words blessed my heart and touched the small hope that still flickers there. Thank you for your courage to write so honestly! Abundant blessings to you.

    1. Thank you, Rebekah, and cling to hope! God has a beautiful future! take time to enjoy the journey and see the miracles as he walks you through to place of healing and health!

  8. The picture that I get is God is an airplane and he is carrying us through the storms of life. We cannot land until the storms clear or the plane will crash. While we fly through those storms our emotions are overwhelmed because we focus on the storms and the turbulence and not the plane that is carrying us through.

    1. Isaiah 26:3 has become a favorite verse: Focus everything on him and he will keep you in perfect peace. When our eyes are on him, the storms can rage and we will never be shaken. He is our foundation!

  9. Dena,

    If I may suggest a book to one of your readers named Diane. I read this book by Jennifer Rothschild called ” God is just not fair : finding hope when life doesn’t make sense”. I think she could really relate to it and it would offer so much encouragement to her. Thanks.

  10. Thank you for this post. I’m struggling today have the single parent dont know how im gonna get there blue! It helped

    1. So glad it helped! God WILL give you the grace you need! It’s not easy, but you can THRIVE! Somehow, as a single mom of three, we always make it. God always seems to make a way.

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