Maranatha & Mission: How Can God Use Pain for the Sake of Those Around Us?

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What if tragedy is only the beginning of God’s victorious story?

Few are likely comfortable with that fine, old passage from Ecclesiastes 3:

There is a time for everything,and a season for every activity under the heavens:a time to be born and a time to die,a time to plant and a time to uproot,a time to kill and a time to heal,a time to tear down and a time to build,a time to weep and a time to laugh,a time to mourn and a time to dance,a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,a time to search and a time to give up,a time to keep and a time to throw away,a time to tear and a time to mend,a time to be silent and a time to speak,a time to love and a time to hate,a time for war and a time for peace.

Who, after all, wants the worse of each couplet? Death, being uprooted, killing, tearing down, weeping, mourning, scattering, refraining from love, giving up, throwing away, silence, hate, war. No thanks.

Any of us who have lived one moment of honest life and who have experienced one significant moment of pain knows the after-effects of these negative actions. When tragedy strikes, when disappointment emerges, when depression seeks to pull us under, as followers of Christ, our first (and correct) instinct is, “Maranatha!”

Come, Lord Jesus. Enter the prison of our souls, the longings of our hearts, the brokenness of our world…and make it right.

Not too infrequently, when we go through difficult times, we may even begin to question who this God is who has promised to love and care for us. St. John of the Cross wrote on this in his “The Dark Night,” otherwise come to be known as the “the dark night of the soul.” Moments when our cries lead to confusion and to questioning—a longing to more …

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