Yesterday I read about the tragic death of a young girl and Pepperdine student, Sarah Brady. According to the report, she was killed in a sudden crash while driving to California to start school this week. I cannot think of much that is more heart-wrenching than a young person losing their life. I also can’t fathom the pain that her family and friends are experiencing in the midst of their loss. However, I do believe–as unimaginable as it is right now–that at some point God will bring something beautiful and good from this pain.
Have you gone through something painful–either physically or emotionally–that you never want to experience again? The loss of a family member or friend, like Sarah? Or perhaps something that enslaved you or robbed you of being the girl you once were? Pain is a strange thing, because although it nearly destroys us, it is also what connects us to others.
I can’t help but think of controlled fires. Controlled burning is done during cooler months to protect a forest from more serious fires during fire season. It also stimulates germination of trees and spurs on forest renewal. The way I see it, God is the forest ranger and we are the forest. Sometimes he uses a controlled burn (i.e. difficult times in our life) in order to renew us and rebuild others around us. We may feel like the pain is out of control and unbearable (I know I’ve felt that), but God is sovereign over everything.
That’s the silver lining in our pain–the one redeeming element of the darkness–that through it we are able to comfort and support others by the grace of God.
Have you ever used your past pain in order to encourage or support someone else?