Purpose in our Sufferings

Everyone has faced a difficult challenge in his or her life. Some have endured more pain and suffering than others but, each of us has had a wound to be healed. After being diagnosed with late stage lung cancer and enduring many days, weeks, and months of pain and suffering, I struggled with the purpose of it all. Why me? Why cancer? Why now?

I would pray for wisdom and clarity regarding how this fits into my life purpose. Questions like “how will this change me?” and “what’s next for me?” consumed my thoughts for months. Then one day while out for a run, it came to me in a song “… this is not about what you’ve done, but what’s been done for you. This is not about where you’ve been, but where your brokenness brings you to.” And suddenly, I found clarity. None of this is about me, but what I can do for others. The purpose of my pain and suffering was to prepare me for the service of others and provide me with the opportunity to help others affected by cancer.”

Ask, and you will receive; seek, and you will find;

knock, and the door will be opened for you.” Matthew 7:7

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I believe that God sometimes allows sufferings to occur for the greater good of mankind. But when they happen to us, how do we know their purpose? Some of God’s richest blessings have to be sought. And for me, I not only continue to pray for wisdom and clarity but also for awareness. Awareness to me means living in the present and keeping my “antennae” out and ready to receive any sign from our Father. My desire is to be used by God wherever He provides the opportunity. And this includes finding purpose in my challenges, my pains, and my sufferings. Understanding this purpose may be my greatest gift of all.

“God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another. Do you have the gift of speaking? Then speak as though God himself were speaking through you. Do you have the gift of helping others? Do it with all the strength and energy that God supplies. Then everything you do will bring glory to God through Jesus Christ. All glory and power to him forever and ever. Amen.” 1 Peter 4:10-11

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