While I was attending college years ago, my high school sweetheart of more than three years broke off our relationship. I was right in the middle of one of my toughest semesters when it happened, and I felt like this breakup couldn't have come at a worse time. At first, I couldn't focus on anything, and it seemed like everything in my life lost its meaning, including my studies. I wallowed in self-pity for a while, and when I got tired of that, I became filled with indignation and determination. With renewed vigor, I threw myself into my studies, and not only did I do well, but I succeeded in attaining a perfect 4.0 average for the semester.
Over the years, I've realized what a great motivator painful experiences like these can be. I've discovered that when we become disillusioned and disappointed by people, jobs, or other things, the hurt we experience can act as a catalyst for needed change in our lives. If we've become too complacent, or too comfortable with the "status quo," or if we've lost sight of our fondest dreams, visions, and goals--a painful situation can jolt us into making some necessary changes.
One of the things I love most about God is that He never wastes our pain. If He allows us to go through a hurtful experience, He always has a purpose for it, and He always works it out for our good. (Romans 8:28) Sometimes the Lord will use heartbreaking circumstances to point out some things in our lives that have gotten off track. Many times, our priorities need to be reevaluated. Or our goals need to be reassessed. Whatever it is, God will show us how to deal with it, if we will turn to Him for guidance and grace. During a trial, I like to pray, "Lord, show me what it is You want me to learn from this experience." I don't want my trials to be any more lengthy or intense than absolutely necessary, so I like to humble myself before Him, and be as receptive to His instruction during these times as I can. Each time we face disillusionment or disappointment, we have to decide if we'll become bitter or better. Those who turn to the Lord for help will emerge from their trials with greater strength, faith, and purpose.
If you are going through a difficult time now, take heart! God loves you, and has a positive outcome planned for your trial. Turn to Him, trust Him, and by faith today declare like the apostle Paul--"This is all going to turn out for my good"! (Philippians 1:19 TLB)
Prayer: Lord, when I face hurtful circumstances, please remind me that You can bring much good out of them. I pray that painful experiences would motivate me, and help me to refocus, rather than cause me to become depressed or bitter. Thank You, Lord, that as I turn to You in times of disappointment and despair, You will fill me with a fresh sense of hope!
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