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Exploring our pain can be our path to God’s vision for our lives. We can often name our pain, but can we name the hope on the other side?

My youngest child is a twin, but I’ve never met her sister. We said goodbye to her before she was born. In the midst of the pain, I probably could not have been a place of hope for others. But now that I can see the other side, I can stay with others who experience this. This is a pain whose name I know, and I can name the hope on the other side.

In this third week of our series Carrying Hope, we want to recognize those places of pain that might be part of our purpose. It is often out of our darkest times that we have the most to give on the other side.

We know the broken relationship…then stay alongside when others feel broken too.

We survive the diagnosis…then walk with others who have heard similar words.

We know the loss…then sit quietly with those in mourning.

“…we also glory in our sufferings because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” Romans 5:3-5 NLT

And what pours into us eventually overflows onto others. At least, it can. Sometimes I wonder if anyone wants to know my story.

Yet, it is these stories that others most want to hear.

They are listening for themselves in our words. More than any other emotion, pain connects us in this broken world.

C.S. Lewis wrote, “Pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our consciences, but shouts in our pains. It is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”

What is God saying in our pain today? Or perhaps what has He already said that we need to hear again? There’s a good chance He wants us to speak to others from what we have learned.

Pray: Lord, show me the places of pain that are meant for others’ good. How can I share from those places as part of my healing? How can I share with them how Jesus came alongside me?

Sow: Who might need you to listen to them in their pain this week? Ask God to give you one name, and then set up a time to talk by phone or meet up. It helps to have a friend or family member pray with you ahead of your time, to ask that you’d give your full attention to what they are saying and hear any hurts behind their words and see how you can offer them the comfort God has also given you.