Peace family, what are some of your greatest weaknesses, pains, and flaws? Did you know that God can redeem each of them, and use your pain and failures to his glory?
Here’s an example. Some of you know that I lived overseas as a small child, but what you might not know, is that it left me feeling a little disconnected. When I moved back to America from abroad, I never felt fully “American” again, but I also never fully fit in in any of the other countries where I’d lived. Kids in America laughed at some of the English words I mispronounced, or turned their noses up at foods that I enjoyed, or didn’t understand why I didn’t care very much about celebrities or tv shows in popular culture. It was painful, and it made a huge impact on my concepts of fitting in, not fitting in, language, culture, and which values are truly important.
It bothered me a lot as a child, until I finally came to a realization that my greatest allegiance was to God, to Christ, and to his Kingdom, instead of to any earthly country. Furthermore, God used (and continues to use) those early feelings of isolation to give me perspective and a common ground for ministering to others in similar situations, whether they are missionaries coming back to America who are having to process their experiences and re-learn how to function in American culture, or foreigners who might not even be believers. The pain of my experiences gave me the ability to examine and explain American culture in a way that would be less confusing to an outsider, as well as to predict some of the specific struggles of living in a country that’s not the one where you were born. It’s a great privilege, and so meaningful, and can make a lasting impact on someone’s life!
That is only one, small example of God using a painful experience to his glory and to further his kingdom. If you are feeling discouraged today, take heart! Did you have an abusive childhood? God can use your healing to heal others. Have you been through a divorce? God can use that, too. Are you working through an addiction? Have you always felt “ugly”? Have you lost a child? Are you an orphan? God wants to heal your heart through all of these things, and can use you to encourage others! The very thing that you feel has broken you, could be used by God to help put someone else back together.
As we humbly relinquish our deepest pains and struggles to him, Christ transforms them for his glory. The process doesn’t feel glorious, but the Bible says he will not give up working in your life. Hang in there, and trust that he will! He loves you, and his power is made perfect in our weakness.