purposeinthepainToday I am a very happy person, but it wasn’t always that way. I can be the typical melancholy artist if I’m not careful and there was a time where it was much worse. In my late teens and early 20s I was so depressed that I often became suicidal (a pretty bad drinking problem didn’t help this) as a matter of fact it was in the midst of an attempt that I cried out to God and He began the work of turning me around. Why do I tell you this? Well first of all because I can. I’m still here. I think of all the things that happened since that day. Every single day since that day has been a bonus. My wedding, my sons, the birth of my grandson, my call to ministry, hundreds of opportunities to preach and paint and a million significant moments. All of those would have been missed if I had gone through with it and all of them are a blessing because I didn’t.

Secondly, I just have to say it. If you’re in a dark place today, you need to know something. It gets better. The worst day of your life is just that, the worst day. From there, it gets better. If you’re in a tough time, you need to know, it will turn around. You will make it through this and there will be a time when you will be on the other side. You’ll be a little stronger, a little more experienced and a little more able to help someone else through their darkest day. By the way, that is the quickest way through depression, to take your focus off yourself and apply your energy to helping someone else. I am not saying there is not a clinical element to depression and you may need professional help, but one of the real dangers in depression is you can internalize everything and become withdrawn looking at everything only has to how it effects you. No wonder we get depressed, we feel like the world is against us. Helping someone else actually gives us something to focus on beyond our own situation. Finding this, radically changed me.

For people of faith, it’s even better, because we have a hope beyond this life and help in this life in the form of a God who cares for us, loves us deeply and is always good, sometimes in spite of our circumstances. On a dark day we can look at God and His goodness and realize there is a purpose to what we’re going through. We believers can claim the promise that “in ALL things God works for the good of the who love Him and have been called according to His purpose.” In everything, God can and will work for our good. Trust Him.

The third thing that inspired me to share this was over the weekend, I was asked to speak and paint at a suicide prevention event. I am so excited to do this, because I am a living testimony to God’s goodness. Beyond that, every time I get to help someone who is in a dark place, every time I get the call to speak to someone who is where I was, I think back to that dark day, I realize once again how good God is. It doesn’t lessen what I went through, but it helps me to find…

The purpose in the pain.

Think about it, the very fact that I went through that hard, dark time, qualifies me to speak of the God who brought me through. I am seeing the verse lived out in my life. He is at work in your life too. There is a purpose in your pain. Push through with God and one day you just might see it all come to pass, and when you do, it’s awesome!

God is good. Trust Him. This will work for good.

  1. vondaskelton says:

    So thankful God spoke to you in the pain so you could shout His Great Name across the nation!

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