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Calling: Where love and pain intersect

Jennifer Smith went through a horrific phase of her life where she was an addict and homeless. After giving her life to Christ and going on the World Race, she felt a calling to minister to the addicts and homeless still on the streets in her hometown. They know that she’s been where they are and…
By Seth Barnes
By Seth Barnes
Jennifer Smith went through a horrific phase of her life where she was an addict and homeless. After giving her life to Christ and going on the World Race, she felt a calling to minister to the addicts and homeless still on the streets in her hometown. They know that she’s been where they are and they love her for it – her ministry is powerful and her calling is sure.
 
As you experience profound pain in life, it will change you. It either makes you shy away or press in. Most people more naturally recoil from pain:
People who have terrible auto accidents typically flinch when riding in a car that has to brake suddenly.
 
Children whose parents go through nasty divorces often have trust issues.
 
If a boyfriend you love dumps you without explanation, you may struggle to fall in love so quickly next time.
In contrast, Jesus’ example was to press into pain. When he saw the teeming masses of Jerusalem, he felt compassion and sent his disciples to meet their needs. When people showed up asking him for healing, he responded by pressing into their pain.
 
His model is ours to follow. In this world, we’ll encounter pain every day if we’ll just look for it. I’ve been blessed with a lot of friends, some of them tremendously successful, but not one of them is without pain. Many have had to struggle with cancer, bankruptcy, broken relationships, and disappointment of all kinds.
 
They need a touch – they need to know that God cares. If we’ll allow their pain to touch our hearts in turn, and if we see ourselves making a difference in their lives, that intersection of love and pain can produce something magical and precious – a calling from God.
 
It’s a great thing to feel like God is calling you to something. Isn’t that what you yearn for? Yet too many people wander through life without a real sense of calling. And I’d like to suggest that maybe they need more experience with pain. They need more experience responding to pain with love. Look at anybody you admire from Mother Teresa to Nelson Mandela and you’ll find that their life was filled with great pain. But you’ll also see that they met the deep challenge of that pain with love, and in so doing, they found the call that defined their life.
 
I’ve devoted my life to giving people experiences with pain so that they can find their call. I ask them to pray, “Break my heart, Lord, with the things that break your heart.”
 
If you haven’t found your calling in life, feel free to get in touch with me, and I’ll help you find it. When we talk, I can tell you this – one of the first questions I’ll ask is about where God has taken pain in your life and redeemed it.

Comments (4)

  • Reminds me of one of my favorite passages in the Bible. “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the same comfort we ourselves have received from God.” – 2nd Corinthians 1:3-4

  • Thanks for the post. I’ve been loving your blog. That question alone brings a lot of clarity about God’s calling over my life.

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Seth Barnes

I'm motivated to join God in his global reclamation project. He's on the move, setting his sons and daughters free from their places of captivity. And he's partnering with those of us who have been freed to go and free others.



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