Finding God in Pain

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Beauty and pain are two words that people don’t really put together. Beauty makes me think of a woman on her wedding day, or new life in the birth of a baby, and pain makes me think of the loss of a loved one, or a gut wrenching feeling of hopelessness in life not going the way you had planned. Two complete opposites, but to me two words that have fit together perfectly.

This past year has been filled with the most pain and heartbreak I have ever experienced, but I can also say it has been filled with a rich desire and passion to know Jesus more and to find a joy that is not in my circumstances but in who Jesus is. 

 

The Break-Up

My boyfriend and I broke up at the beginning of sophomore year, after being together for over a year. To say I was devastated is an understatement. Being completely honest and vulnerable with y’all, I had felt like my entire future I had envisioned was gone. I was heartbroken and felt so hopeless. I felt confused, sad, and questioned myself over and over. What could I have done differently? Why was I not good enough for this person? Am I ever going to be good enough for someone? My identity and worth felt shattered. 

In this dark time, my best friend flew out from California to Tennessee to be with me, and she gave me so much comfort, peace, and godly encouragement. We went to dinner after a tear filled day and as we sat there, I physically felt a weight lifted off of me. I began to feel an overwhelming amount of peace. I explained to my friend what was happening and still, to this day as I write thing, I am in awe of what happened in that moment.

As I sat there at dinner I started crying (again) just realizing God’s sovereignty in my life and I experienced a peace that truly surpassed my own understanding (Philippians 4:7.) I was going through the worst pain I had ever experienced, but felt a peace and a joy that I had never experienced in my life. I felt a true joy, and it wasn’t because my circumstances were good, because they sucked, but it was because I knew I had a God who is good and who promises to do good for those who love Him. My #1 emotion was shock, but then I could look to God and His Word and say that He was not at all shocked at what happened, but actually allowed it. That brought me so much comfort. I could trust that God was now going to use this for my good and for His glory.

“There are times in our lives when things happen that we just don’t understand. When I don’t understand something about God, I try to always fall back on what I do understand: I do understand that God loves me. I do understand that He is looking out for me with my best interests in mind. And I do understand that no matter what happens, He will get me through.” -Greg Laurie
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Clinging to Scripture

A couple weeks before the break-up, I had been seeing a major disconnect in my “awesome” relationship with this guy… and my relationship with God. It felt like my relationship with God has become non-existent, and I remember praying and asking God to give me that passion and desire I had when I first got saved. My passion and desire for Jesus just wasn’t there anymore.

But through the next 11 months, as I navigated heartbreak, confusion, and pain, I began to go deeper with my Savior. God’s Word came to life in this time of pain. I truly took God at His word because it’s the only thing that brought me any sort of comfort.

 

Psalm 34:18 "The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit."

Revelation 21:4 "He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

 

I clung to these verses and have never spent more time in God’s Word, in prayer, listening to message after message, reading book after book, etc. There is something really beautiful and special that happens when we are forced to see God as your only option. My quiet times were sweeter and more meaningful because I took God at His Word. He became my everything and I held on to every word that He has spoken through the Bible. I now know that pain is the invitation for God to move in and replace our faltering strength with His. God sees the big picture of my life and in his wisdom, which initially didn’t look like wisdom at first — he will bring all to right in the ways and at the times that will result in experiencing the greatest joy possible. 

God cares more about my holiness than my happiness and I praise Him for that. I praise Him for humbling me enough to see that He is all I need and that He has become all I want. Nothing and no one can satisfy me like He can.

 Ephesians 3:20 "Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us…"

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Living a New Purpose

My whole life is now lived with a much greater purpose. I think pain has brought me a greater desire for Christ’s return and wanting to share God’s goodness with everyone I meet because I have an example with my own life. 

Also, I now am seeking a man who doesn’t just say he’s a christian, but who is actively pursuing the Lord and whose life is an obvious testament to who Jesus is. I can’t wait to find this love with a guy, but now that I feel I have truly found it with Jesus I am so satisfied with where I’m at. 

This has been a tough season, but a rewarding one knowing that I have been able to turn to Christ through it all. I can give glory to God in knowing that I could’ve gone one of two ways. I could’ve sought another relationship, I could’ve strayed from God out of frustration, but God sought me out and as I’ve drawn near to Him, He has drawn near to me (James 4:8.) “God is glorified in our suffering when we bear fruit through the heat by relying on him as our all-satisfying source of strength.”

I’m glad I have gone through this because the joy, peace, and satisfaction I now have in Jesus.  Knowing He is my Abba Father was worth every sleepless night, every tear, every piece of my broken heart.

 
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Selah Gilmore

I am a division 1 soccer player at Lipscomb University, in Nashville Tennessee. I am a junior and studying communications. 

IG: @selahhope