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Discovering the purpose in the pain

Only recently has God revealed to me the purpose of the pain I went through in 1989.  For years I attributed the betrayal to random misfortune, but more recently the Father spoke to me about that, helping me to see that it related to my dreams. Our conversation went something like this: …
By Seth Barnes
By Seth Barnes

Only recently has God revealed to me the purpose of the pain I went
through in 1989.  For years I attributed the betrayal to random misfortune, but
more recently the Father spoke to me about that, helping me to
see that it related to my dreams. Our conversation went something like this:

“I worked so hard to help get my friend’s ministry off the ground.  It
shouldn’t have been as complicated as it was.  It wasn’t fair.”
“And you’re hurt because of that.”
“Well, yes.”
“Don’t you see how that incident was my tool in your life?”
“Yeah, yeah.  ‘All things work together for good.’  It’s one of those.”
“Wait, were you happy where you were working before what you perceived as betrayal?”
“Not really.”
“Exactly my point. That was me behind the pain you felt.  It was an
answer to your prayers.”
“Is it me, or does that sound crazy?  When did I ever ask
you for that kind of pain?”
“You asked me to use you to change the world, right?”
“Yeah, but what does that have to do with the pain of betrayal?”
“Your dreams were too small.  To help change the world, I needed to get
rid of your small dreams to make room for the big dreams I wanted to
give you. And you needed an internship before you could start AIM.”
“What does that have to do with the pain I felt?”
“That pain was my tool, clearing out the underbrush of your small dreams
in your heart to make room for my God-sized dreams.”
“But why couldn’t I have gotten rid of them myself?”
“Because you were clinging to them too tightly.  Your dream of
recognition and financial security took up too much room in your heart. 
It needed to be cleared out so that I could give you my dreams of
raising up young people and caring for orphans.”
“So my friend who betrayed my trust was actually your tool?  I don’t like it.”
“You wanted to be able to cling to the hurt and the dream, but they
couldn’t coexist.”
“Why is that?”
“Because of a lesson you’re only now beginning to get your arms around
after all these years later.”
“Which is?”
“I can’t trust you with my dreams until I can trust you with pain.”
“That’s a hard lesson, Lord.  I guess I should say, thank you.”

“You’re welcome.  There’s a terrible beauty in all this; as long as you keep seeking more,
you’re going to find me answering your prayers.”

Comments (9)

  • i wish the conversation went something like that for me lol. honestly i stopped journaling a while ago. i went back and re-read what i had wrote and found i remembered it all. got plenty of quiet time… doesnt equte to journaling. should read the bible more. i make excuses and listen to lectures instead lol. so what do i do with a restless heart (and mind)?

  • A restless heart is a good thing.
    When you are not content with your life as a believer it goads you and prods you to work it out.
    God is not content with us until He has ALL. You should not expect to ever stop growing and changing. Go back to the place where your heard from Him regularly. This morning I read something that is for you…
    “All spiritual disciplines (prayer, fasting, meditation on the Word, etc) are ordained by God as a necessary way to posture our heart to freely receive more grace. Analogy: we put our cold heart before the bonfire of God’s presence by seeking Him in the Word and prayer. God gives more to our heart, but does not love us more, when we live in spiritual disciplines.” Mike Bickle (IHOP-KC)
    Pray the Word when you have trouble keeping your focus. It always agrees with Him. Journal what He says about it.

  • Great word, Seth… there IS always purpose in the pain, even when we can’t see it at the time, or only understand it in part. This was a good word to read this morning as I was bemoaning the “unfair” state of some things last night… still hoping, pressing in & seeking more… thanks.

  • Hey friend…Out in Colorado writing this morning and “pain and suffering” were points of reflection causing me to remember there are three primary reasons we feel pain:

    1. A fallen world filled with random violence and strategic demonic assassins.

    2. Poor choices both willful and benign.

    3. God’s purposeful pressure to wean the dead weight and dross out of us.

    Both Satan and God have one point of similar passion.

    They each want us “dead”.

    The Evil One comes to steal, kill and destroy while Jesus invites us to “die to self” daily.

    It is all a bloody wonder.

    Thanks for the reminder.

  • Ah, absolutely worth framing. God has been allowing plenty of pain (a continuous kind of challenge) since my dad’s death, but the last round hasn’t gotten a rise out of me. Rather a response of quiet fortitude, no doubt provided by Him.

    I am back home after a (difficult) month overseas providing my mom, in failing health with one probably last trip to Europe, as it was something she and my dad did every year. So since he is no longer alive, I took over that role.

    Her health meant she couldn’t walk, so I pushed her around the cobblestoned European streets in her wheelchair, watching her gait and memory slip further away each day.

    But despite not remembering the previous day, each moment held joy for her as evidenced by the broad smile on her face.

    And then, the last week, her health did more than decline; it nosedived.

    She got ill in Florence, Italy and we took her to the hospital (you DON’T want to get sick in Italy…) and then she was transferred. She has a ventricular shunt in her brain, and it appeared to have become infected, but on top of that when we managed to get her home, our worst fears, that she had also had a stroke were confirmed.

    Yet I didn’t freak, scream, complain, or demand (and in case you didn’t know this, I am a bonafide type A control freak in charge of everything…)I allowed God to simply illuminate the next step. I asked for prayer, much prayer to get my mom home, as the Italian docs didn’t agree with the therapy recommended by her care team in the US who know her well. So by the grace of God we managed to get my mom home on a commercial flight last Friday. She can’t walk, but we got her home…

    It has been hard, but I have been stripped…stripped of any agenda, felt so much pain that I am now empty of self. So perhaps God’s dreams for how I can serve him will roost and take hold. I hope so…

    Thanks for the great message. I know I have had similar conversations with God, and have clearly heard his voice and call.

  • Thanks for that story, Kathy. What a hard passage to go through. What a terrible grace he’s extended to you and your mom.

    I’m headed to Florence in a couple of months – will try not to get sick!

  • I needed this today. I have been walking around just trying to understand the ‘whys’ of what has happened in my life. The wonderings leave me no further than when I started except a whole lot crankier. I prayed yesterday that I would just stop all that and just give it all time and trust that God has is covered. (If only I had a nickel for all the times…) I am determined to walk this thing out. No hiding, running, avoiding the hurt. Thank you for sharing this. You have eased this heart.

    PS breathtaking…

    Wait, were you happy where you were working before what you perceived as betrayal?”

    “Not really.”

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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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