I don’t know. Not the answer you were hoping to read right? Well, I have a few theories. In the end God always uses evil for good.
Theory 1 // God uses pain to strengthen us.
We all have a purpose, a reason we were put on this earth. Sometimes we have to change to be able to fulfill our purpose. I know that was the case for me. Did I want our home to flood? Of course not. Do I wish it didn’t have to happen? Duh. But I’m still happy it happened to me. It revealed to me how tightly I was holding onto material things. The power I gave wood, metal, and fabric in my life. By having it all ripped away, it forced me to hold onto God instead.
And while I was wrapped around His feet wailing and writhing in pain, He reached down and put His finger through my chest and into my heart. I am forever changed now. Pain can show us how strong we can be, by revealing our weakness. Now my faith is unshakeable, I trust Him. Now I am ready to fulfill my purpose, where as before, I would have fallen flat on my face. #HoustonStrong
It wasn’t until Daniel faced Goliath that he would transition from being a shepherd to a king. The giants in our lives will transform us, they will prepare us for our destiny.
Theory 2 // God uses pain to unite us.
Look at the photos immediately following 9/11. All of New York covered in ash. You could no longer tell if someone was black, white, brown, or green. There was one race; human. The entire city banded together and ordinary Joe’s turned into super heroes as they risked their own lives climbing through rubble to rescue another soul.
In a moment it didn’t matter what religion you were, what political party you affiliated with, or what color your skin was. An entire nation came together, we were the UNITED States of America. Same with hurricane Harvey. People drove from all over America to come to our aid. Our very fur children were rescued by volunteers who saw the pain, united, and came to save. Pain can bring us together.
Theory 3 // God uses pain to bring us closer to Him.
Ever been mad at God? I know I have. I even told him so. I’m pretty sure it went something like “Really God?! WTF?!” …just being honest.
It’s ok to be mad at God. It’s ok to ask “Why!? Why ME?!” Even Jesus asked God why and didn’t get an answer.
And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? - Matthew 27:26
God wants relationships, not religion. God cares about how you feel, it’s ok to tell Him you’re mad at Him. How can you have a real relationship with someone if you can’t even tell them you’re mad at them? You can’t. I think he is happy to hear how we truly feel because that means we are taking our relationship to the next level with Him, and that’s exactly what He wants. He wants us to trust Him and His plan for life. He wants us to get to know Him on a personal level, which requires realness. You have to be close to someone in order to trust them.
Theory 4 // God uses pain to bless us.
God gives us grief for a purpose - to transition us into healing. You cannot heal without grieving a loss. When my ex husband left me, I grieved for months. It was absolutely necessary. And because I acknowledged my emotions, I was able to let God heal me and transition me into something that was better than I ever could have imagined; Brian.
God truly blessed me when I thought He was done with me. I never thought I would get married again. And then God dropped Brian into my life. After our first date, I came home and told my family “That’s the man God created me to marry”. I had lost my way for 15 years, but God turned all my bad decisions around and used them for good.
Now in my relationship with Brian, because of all the pain and trials I had been through in my two previous marriages (you read that right, 2x divorcee - judge away!) I was so thankful for Brian that our relationship was so easy. We hardly ever fight (quite the difference from my previous relationships!). Because I had experienced such cruelty, I appreciated Brian’s kindness more than I ever would have had I not gone through the pain that I did. God used it for good. I’m thankful for that pain now.
Sometimes God doesn’t stop a bad thing from happening, because what happens after the bad thing is going to bless us beyond our imagination. Sometimes blessings reside on the other side of pain. But as humans, we just want the blessing part. Sometimes the blessing is in the breaking. We can’t be blessed unless we’re willing to be broken. Like cracking open an Easter egg to find the blessing of sweet chocolate within. We have to be willing to let God crack us open to get to the prize that lies hidden inside us.
Can we understand the ways of God? Heck no. He’s too big, too eternal, and too pure for humans to fully comprehend His glory. But He will never give us anything we can’t handle with Him by our side.
I don’t know why 9/11 happened. But I choose to trust in His goodness. That even though I may not know the answer, that He does, and that He is using it for good in our lives. Now instead of asking God “Why?” in the pain, I thank Him. I praise Him. I may be crying, but my hands are lifted in worship, because I know that He is breaking me and so blessings are about to release in my life.
There is beauty in pain in that way. Today is a hard day for many, it represents great loss. It’s ok to be mad, to not understand why it happened. Take the time to grieve, open your heart, healing is on the way.
A few years ago I had the incredible opportunity to photograph from the top of the spire at Freedom tower before it became enclosed and was finished. I cannot describe the feeling of being on the grounds where such tragedy happened. But from that point of pain, holds the most beautiful view of New York City. There is beauty in pain.