The last few years has been a study for me in learning through pain, and this past Sunday my pastor added a new chapter in my notes. If you want to hear the entire message, click here and listen to “Impact #3 Stewardship of Your Story.” It is worth your time.
He asked the question, “What if God wants to use your pain to help others?”
We like to hide our failures so that we look the way we think people want us to look. In the end we all end up hiding from each other, afraid to open up and get help when we need it.
The Scripture is full of examples of situations where people’s pain turned to salvation: Joseph saving his family after being sold as a slave, Abraham having to leave all he knew to go somewhere about which he knows nothing. In Isaiah 53 we read that Christ’s pain was part of our redemption.
At a time when she was vulnerable, poor, a foreigner, and essentially a migrant worker, Ruth was working in Boaz’s fields. Instead of exploiting her he had compassion on her. Long story short they end up getting married and restoring the honor of her mother-in-law’s family.
Question: Where did Boaz learn to protect vulnerable women?
When the Israelites were preparing to attack Jericho, they sent in some spies. Two of these spies got trapped and ended up escaping the authorities because a prostitute hid them. Hmmm, what were they doing at the prostitute’s place? But I digress . . . In return the prostitute, Rahab, asks that she, her parents, and her brothers and sisters be spared when the Israelites attack. The Israelites honored her request and Rahab went on to live with the Israelites.
Turns out she marries a man from the tribe of Judah. His name was Salmon. Their son was named . . you guessed it . . Boaz. Boaz most likely learned to protect vulnerable women from his father, who married a prostitute and gave her honor back to her.
Check out Matthew 1 and you will find that Christ’s lineage goes through both Rahab and Ruth, two foreigners and one a prostitute.
Question: Would Boaz have learned the same lessons if Rahab had been afraid to live with the Israelites because of her reputation?
Pastor Ken’s point was this. If we have made it through our situation but keep it to ourselves, how will someone else in the same situation get encouragement?
Perhaps, as Paul says in 2 Corinthians 1, we are given comfort that we might comfort others with the comfort we ourselves have received. We can choose to hide our pain and be ashamed of it, or we can share it with others so that they can be encouraged and learn from it.
I was so grateful for my friend who was willing to share his painful story with me while I was going through separation and divorce. He was such an encouragement to me.
Sharing the good things is easy, but sharing pain is something else altogether. Do you have the courage to share your pain?
When have you been encouraged because someone shared their pain with you? Have you been able to encourage someone else with your pain?