Allowing God to Use Your Tragedy
One of the hardest parts of being a pastor, yet one of the deepest privileges, is walking with others through tragedy and the fallout from their personal tragedy. So many of our friends, church family and neighbors carry with them the deep wounds and scars inflicted by others. Rape, molestation, abandonment, and physical and emotional abuse are, perhaps naively, shockingly common parts of the testimonies I hear, especially from women and those recounting their childhood. All these fuel a deep longing in me for Revelation 21 to be a present reality.
Rev 21:4-6 (ESV) 4 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” 5 And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” 6 And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment.
But for now, it is a future (certain) hope for which we wait. And so, we, as Christians, ask that God might use our tragedy for His glory and our joy.
Esther was such a person. She was, it might have seemed to her at the time, truly cursed with beauty. Living in a pagan culture, she was nothing more than an object to be possessed by the king. When his queen disobeys him, she is divorced and dethroned and King Ahasuerus begins the search for a new queen. Esther is brought in, apart from her will, to audition for the role of either queen or member of the king’s harem. While Esther approaches her ugly reality with great wisdom and strength, it is no less tragic that she is forced to give herself to a wicked king for wicked reasons.
However, God uses Esther’s strength to save many, for, at the same time that Esther is rising to the role of queen, Haman is rising with murderous intent as well, as we begin to see in chapter 3.
God permits the evil intentions of others to bring about good for His people (Gen 50:20). God uses our pain and suffering, if we will allow Him, to accomplish good for others around us. When you look back on the most painful part of your past, have you considered how God could use it to help others who are going through similar situations now? It is often through our deepest pain that God most shows His strength.