Hi there! This post is part of a 31-Day writing adventure I’m almost halfway through! I’d love for you to join me and read along. You can find the introduction to the series, and a “Table of Contents” as each day goes live, right here. Thanks so much for dropping in!

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If there’s one thing in this world I’m not a big fan of, it’s pain. I’ll be honest with you. Last year, when I wanted to wait for the Belle to arrive in her own perfect timing, part of the reason was that I’d heard so many stories of women being induced and slowly laboring for hours and hours AND hours. When there’s a chance your body could remember how to have a baby in 90 minutes or less — why aim at any alternative? Right?

But on this adventure in searching for goodness in unexpected places, it would be wrong not to look closely at the beautiful and redemptive purposes wrapped up in the presence of pain in our lives.


When I lost my Dad, I began writing with much more fervor, as I found putting words on a page (in this case a web page) very therapeutic, and I felt sure someone else had also been there, and the words might be a source of comfort to them, too.

I had no idea how many people would contact me to tell me how much they enjoyed reading what I wrote when I lost my Dad. HH and I were shopping for bunk beds for our boys and having lost my Dad came up in conversation. The lady who was showing us  beds in her store slowly put two and two together, and got excited talking about how much she’d enjoyed what she’d read. People who didn’t even know what a “blog” was had visited this site and always had something very positive to say.

For me, it was incredibly redemptive, and a “beauty from ashes” moment — especially because my Dad was a faithful reader, was excited about my writing, and often encouraged me about my gift. I think he was probably very pleased, looking down to know that  a post where I wrote about my relationship with him and how hard it was to lose him, but how I knew I could trust God, had more hits than any other page on my site ever before.

Rightly seen, pain and troubles are opportunities — you can be sure God is near.

James wrote:

Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when you faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing. {James 1: 2-4}

In His glorious goodness, the Lord saw it fit to make pain and sorrow and trials and difficulties — all suffering — an opportunity. We seize the opportunity by choosing to trust God, accept adversity, and give it back to the Lord to ask that His purposes be accomplished through it.

In Jesus Calling, Sarah Young wrote {in first person from the Lord’s perspective – so you don’t get confused}

“Bearing your circumstances bravely–even thanking me for them–is one of the highest forms of praise. This sacrifice of thanksgiving rings golden-toned bells of Joy throughout heavenly realms. […] your suffering gains meaning and draws you closer to me. Joy emerges from the ashes of adversity through your trust and thankfulness.” {October 14, p. 301}

When adversity knocks at the door, often that the point in the plot where the story gets really good. The Lord is like an artist that travels to junk yards. He pulls out rough pieces of metal, scraps of an old tire — the kind of stuff the world has seen no value in, tries to avoid and pushes aside.

And with that junkyard stuff? He creates an absolute masterpiece.

He creates a masterpiece out of the broken pieces of our lives. He is always able to create beauty, to surprise us with joy in unexpected circumstances.

Are you walking through something tough right now? I’m sorry that you are — but I know God has a redemptive purpose for your pain. Can you turn to Him and tell Him you trust Him? Can you thank Him for the joy and beauty you are going to see, even when you haven’t seen it yet?

It is gloriously unexpected — our troubles are the medium God chooses to use for His best masterpieces.