Pain can push you away from God, away from people and into the darkness even more.

But God wants your pain to push you towards Him, towards people and into the light.

Pain can have a purpose.  Nothing is wasted with God.  He turns the greatest darkness into opportunities for the light to shine.  His promise in Romans 8 is that He will turn all circumstances for good.

Here are 4 things to do when living through painful situations.

1. Draw close To God: position yourself for hearing

When Jesus rose Lazarus from the dead – Jesus spoke and Lazarus heard. And his whole world, his whole life changed!

Are you making time for God to speak? Are you listening? Purposefully tuning yourself in to hear. Right now, where you sit, no matter where that is, there are radio waves all around us – if we had a radio we could tune in and hear a cricket commentary, some pop music or someone talking politics. But we don’t have a radio so we’re not tuned into the frequency. Same with God. We have to put up our spiritual antenna and tune in.

John 10:27, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.”

Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.  Jeremiah 33:3

When living through pain its important to be intentional about carving out some time to hear God.  His promise is the anchor to keep us still in the storm.  His words give us peace.  His truth silences the lies that try to magnify the pain, unleashing it to do its worst.

2. Draw Close To God: Remind yourselves of the promises of God.

So many times the Israelites got in trouble because they FORGOT about the great things of God. They forgot about His promises. Case in point. God promises the Israelites to deliver them from Egypt and settle them in the promised land. He does signs and wonders and soooo reveals Himself and then boom. They forget. They freak out. They get fearful and insecure and faith-less. And so they have to wander another 40 years in the desert and die.

When my husband was made redundant the 2nd time – about 6 years ago I made a conscious choice to draw near to God. Everything within me was stressing out but I knew that how we walked through this would be watched by our housegroup and our families.  We wanted our lives and the way we lived them to be a reflection of the reality of God.

We reminded ourselves that God is good and faithful and our provider. I lay on the sofa in the lounge and put on worship music and cranked it up loud. The song “You are good” came on and it did something on the inside of me.

Rick Warren says worship reinforces what matters most, reminds us of truths we forget and renews our desire to live what we believe.

When you draw close to God you position yourself to hear from Him and to see life from His vantage point and to remind ourselves of His reality, His goodness and His greatness.

3. Draw Close to People: Get good people around you when the going gets tough.

In fact get good people around you NOW so that when it gets tough you’re not having to pick new friends. Job’s wife was not a good friend. She told him to curse God and die. Seriously woman! Get good people in your life now – get into a housegroup, make intentional opportunities for friendship. Paul had good people in his life, when he and Silas got thrown into prison they turned it into a revival meeting. That couldn’t of happened if Silas was like “Paul shut up, you’re out of tune, we’re in a prison, what good is this, no one can hear us, this isn’t the XFactor, we’re gonna die!” They were brothers of the same Father and encouraged each other to draw close to God despite their location and circumstances.

When living through pain surround yourself with people who will encourage you, pray for you, support you.

4. Draw Close to People: Be real.

Often when the going gets tough people say “how are you?” and we’re like “fine mate, sweet as” and inside we’re crushed and disappointed and it feels like someone has rolled that stone over our tomb. When Jesus came both Mary and Martha told Him how it was. They were real with Him. They were vulnerable. They let people in. Now I’m not suggesting we all go and choose our “im feeling emotiocom” on facebook to say I’m feeling like the sky is falling, but again, don’t be afraid to live out your story on the stage of your life. Your mess becomes a message. Your test becomes a testimony.

Pain has a purpose – to grow us, to strengthen us, to teach us.

How we respond is up to us.

Will you embrace the potential of pain and draw near to God and near to the right people?

What helps you get through painful situations?