“I shouldn’t be here today. I know God has me alive for a reason.”
“When so-and-so died, I knew God had a greater mission for me.”
“I know God has a reason for why I’m going through this pain.”
Our pain yearns for an explanation and a significance to make life seem worth the suffering. And there are times when, in God’s grace, He does grant us with a specific mission for His glory. But what if many times that “greater purpose” we are looking for has a much simpler explanation? What if God’s reason for allowing us to live or allowing us to suffer was simply to give us a deeper look at Himself?
The apostle Paul made the profound statement that “to live is Christ and to die is gain” (Phil. 1:21). Take a moment and realize what living meant for Paul. Recount to yourself his history of beatings and imprisonment, of rejection and loneliness. Living, for Paul, was a painful experience. Yet, for him living was Christ, becoming more like Christ and knowing Him more intimately through the suffering. Paul said that he yearned for the “fellowship” of suffering. The pain and tragedies of life allowed Paul a special fellowship and intimate connection with his Savior. How close was this fellowship? So intimate that Paul didn’t see death as losing anything at all; living was fellowship, but dying was gaining the closest intimacy possible.
As I reflect on Paul, I have to ask myself if I have the right perspective on pain. Am I seeking for God to make me more significant through my pain, or am I asking Him to make Himself more significant to me?
Is knowing Christ reason enough for me?
*edited, updated, and republished from my former blog