A sweet client tentatively asked this question after a particularly difficult session processing trauma. I felt the burning in my chest as I always do when I see suffering and evil from this broken world collide with quiet secret lies whispered to vulnerable hearts in the process of healing.
“Maybe there is no point in all this pain. Maybe you’ll always hurt just like this and it will never be better. Maybe your broken heart is meaningless- just another sad story among many. Maybe defeat and fear get the last word. Maybe none of this will ever be understood or serve a purpose. Maybe….”
But then there’s the other side of fear. The place where life is just so normal and no matter how hard you try to make your life exceptional and amazing you cannot seem to make an impact and the highlight of your day is not interesting enough to post on Instagram. And you wonder as you lay in bed at night,
“Does my life matter at all in the big picture? Will I ever accomplish something big or noble or worth remembering? Maybe there is no point to all this hard work and daily grind?”
Friend, if this is you right now give me just a tiny bit of room to speak truth invade those dark thoughts. Let me offer some hope into your heart.
Nothing is ever wasted.
Not one tear or moment of pain or gut wrenching decision or life altering crisis or smallest hurt feeling or mundane task or ordinary day.
Suffering is not caused by God, but will always, always be used by Him in your life. Oridanary is never such once we have been pulled into His big redemption story.
Scripture is clear. “And we know that suffering produces perseverance, perseverance character, and character hope. And hope does not disappoint us because He has poured out His love into our hearts.” (Romans 5:3-5) There is something universal about us as people- we tend to put our hope in things that let us down: approval of others, marriage, career, government, motherhood, beauty, comfort, entertainment, even our pastors and churches. None of these are bad things, but none of them are stable and unchanging either. They are cannot anchor your soul when storms blow through. And we all need to let them loose from our death grip so we can grab onto true hope. But truth is we need our character changed the way only persevering through suffering will, in order to quit seeking hope in temporary places.
And not only does God use every hard thing to pull us closer to Him, “We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him…” (Romans 8:28) which means it’s not just suffering but also mundane and trivial moments that aren’t wasted either. And life is full of long stretches that seem meaningless. Seasons of never ending laundry and commutes to work and dumb arguments with husbands and paying off braces and it seems so mediocre and regular, not at all like there is any greater purpose in faithfully serving those around you. And then this world tells you you should be climbing mountains and slaying dragons and you feel so insignificant just playing your quiet simple part, yet God promises even those moments are being woven together into His beautiful story to be used for your good. Because character is also built in daily habits repeated over and over. Serving your family, helping your boss, disciplining yourself to turn off the Netflix and open God’s word. Day after day, little by little we are being quietly stripped of selfishness and vanity and pride until we can slay dragons for others without fear and climb mountains to accomplish hard and holy things with the perseverance that He built in us without our awareness.
Nothing gets wasted. So take heart and take courage.
He uses every ache to pull us to His heart and every ordinary thing to prepare us for the extraordinary joy in living as a child of His, playing our small part in the most significant story ever told.