Thursday, July 12, 2018

God’s Plan for Your Pain BY RICK WARREN — JULY 11

If you are suffering in a manner that pleases God, keep on doing what is right, and trust your lives to the God who created you, for he will never fail you” (1 Peter 4:19 NLT).
Remember what photography was like before everything went digital? When you took a picture, the first thing you’d get was a negative. Then you had to develop the negative into a positive by going into a darkroom and shining a light through it onto photographic paper. This turned the negative into a positive full-color photograph.
That’s what God wants to do with the injustices in our lives. We all have them. People have mistreated us. They’ve passed over us. They’ve taken advantage of us. God wants to take all the negatives, shine the light of Jesus through them, and turn them into positives — a full-color picture of the life we were made to live.
The Bible says, “If you are suffering in a manner that pleases God, keep on doing what is right, and trust your lives to the God who created you, for he will never fail you” (1 Peter 4:19 NLT). The most important thing you can remember when you’ve been treated unfairly is that Jesus is on your side. There is no sin that God judges more harshly, except maybe pride, than that of injustice.
Throughout Scripture, God shows special care for people who are treated unfairly. He is a God of justice. He hears your cry, sees your pain, and knows you were hurt. You didn’t get what you thought you deserved. But God has a plan for your pain.
When you shine the light of God’s love through your circumstances, he can turn your pain into a beautiful picture. He develops your character through it. He makes you stronger. Most importantly, he uses your pain.
You’ll never get an explanation for much of the pain you endure in this life. When you get to heaven, you may understand more about why bad things happened to you. But God does not owe you an explanation for it.
But here’s the good news: You don’t need an explanation. You just need to know that God loves you. He has a plan for you. God will settle the score with whoever hurt you.
God never wastes a hurt. Welcome the light of the Gospel into it and God will use your hurt — the very real injustice that has happened to you — to create a beautiful picture through your life.
Talk It Over

  • How can you use the pain from your past to help other people?
  • In what ways have you seen God grow your character through an injustice you experienced?
  • Instead of retaliating, how do you think God wants you to treat the person who treated you unfairly? What effect does it have on you when you respond in love?
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