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Watch 2022 online sermons » Joel Osteen » Joel Osteen — Don't Waste Your Pain

Joel Osteen — Don't Waste Your Pain


I want to talk to you today about "Don't waste your pain". We all go through disappointments, setbacks, loss. Pain is a part of life. It's easy to get discouraged, even bitter, think, "Why is this happening to me"? But one of the best principles I've learned is don't put a question mark where God has put a period.

All of us have things we don't understand. One reason is we can't see the big picture for our lives. If you have a puzzle, on the front of the box there's the picture. You see what it's supposed to look like. Maybe it's a sunset overlooking the ocean. As a whole, it's fantastic, so beautiful. But if you were to take one piece and isolate it, you would think, "Look at this funny-looking piece. It's a mistake, it's not going to fit anywhere. It's an odd shape. There's nothing beautiful about it". But the fact is that piece has a perfect place. It's already been fitted, planned, designed. When the other pieces come together, it will fit in.

The reason you can't see it now is because they all are not in place yet. In the same way, sometimes we look at pieces in our lives that don't make sense. "Joel, I went through a divorce. I lost a loved one. I'm going through cancer. My business went down. This piece couldn't be a part of God's plan".

But you have to trust that, even in the painful times, the times you're hurting, you're lonely, you're taking the treatment, on the surface that piece doesn't make sense. But God doesn't make any mistakes. He's already designed your life, laid out all the pieces down to the smallest details, and God never said that we would understand everything that happens along the way.

He didn't promise that we'd never have any heartache, pain, disappointment, loss, setbacks. But he did promise that it would all work out for our good, and that piece that's painful, doesn't look like it makes any sense, when everything comes together, it will fit perfectly into place. The key is what we do in our times of pain. Pain will change us. Heartache, loss, disappointments, they don't leave us the same. When I lost my father, I didn't come out like I was before, I was changed. If you go through a divorce, a legal battle, a friend betrays you, eventually that will pass. You'll get through it, but you will be different.

Now, how the pain changes you is up to you. You can come out bitter, or you can come out better. You can come out with a chip on your shoulder, blaming God, or you can come out stronger, with a greater confidence in God. You can come out defeated, giving up on your dreams, or you can come out with a new passion, a new fire, excited about the new opportunities in front of you.

All of us experience pain. My challenge, don't just go through it, grow through it. That difficulty is an opportunity to get stronger, to develop character, to gain new confidence. Anybody can give up. Anybody can let it overwhelm you. But you know what that's doing? Wasting your pain. That pain is not there to stop you. It's there to prepare you, to increase you, to develop you.

The scripture talks about how God is in control not just of our lives, but he's in control of our enemies. Satan had to ask God for permission to test Job. The enemy may turn on the fire, but the good news is God has his hand on the thermostat. God controls how much heat, how much pain, how much adversity. He knows what we can handle. If it was going to harm us rather than help us, God would have turned back the intensity.

In those tough times, when you're uncomfortable, going through a loss, dealing with an illness, you could easily let it overwhelm you. It's helpful to remind yourself, "I may be in this fire, but I know who controls the temperature. The God who breathed life into me, the God who is for me and not against me, the God who crowned me with favor, the God who takes pleasure in prospering me, he's in complete control. He's not going to let it get too hot. He's not going to let it defeat me. I may not like it, but I'm not a whiner, I'm a warrior. I know I can handle this".

You have that attitude, you'll come out stronger, increased, promoted, better than you were before. We've all heard the saying, "No pain, no gain". If everything was always easy, we wouldn't be prepared for our destiny. Some of the things I face today, if I would have faced them ten years ago, they would have overwhelmed me. I couldn't handle it back then. God knows what you need, when you need it.

Every struggle is making you stronger. Every difficulty is growing you up. Every painful time, even though you don't like it, it's developing something in you that can only be developed in the tough times. Don't complain about the pain. Without the pain, we couldn't reach the fullness of our destinies.

Researchers did an experiment with bumblebees. They took them up into space to study the effects of weightlessness on them, and the bees floated through the air with great ease, didn't have to use their wings. I'm sure they thought, "This is the way we were made to live, no struggle, no adversity, no resistance".

For a few days, everything was great. But on the fourth day, something happened. They all died. They loved it being easy, no adversity. But the problem was they weren't created to not have any resistance. In the same way, we were not created to float through life on flowery beds of ease. We're going to the sweet by and by, but we are living in the nasty now and now. We'd love to not have any pain, loss, disappointments, heartaches, betrayal. That's not reality. Difficulties are a part of life. Have the right perspective.

In those tough times, God is getting you prepared. If it was too much, he would have turned back the temperature. He's got his hand on the thermostat. Now, quit telling yourself you can't take it. You're not weak; you are well able. You are armed with strength for this battle. You are full of can-do power.

The reason the fire is so hot is because God has something amazing in your future. He's getting you prepared for the next level of your destiny. See, God doesn't just randomly say, "Let me give them some pain to make their life miserable. Let me hit her with a sickness. Let me hit him with some marriage problems". There is a purpose for the pain. We may not always understand it. "Joel, why did I get sick? Why did I lose my loved one? Why did my marriage not make it"? I can't answer that. But I can tell you if God allowed it, he knows how to bring good out of it.

This is what faith is all about. "God, I don't like the pain, but I trust you. I believe you're in control. Now, I'm not going to just go through it, I'm going to grow through it. I'm going to keep a good attitude. I'm going to count it all joy, knowing that this pain is leading to my gain".

Sometimes we bring pain on ourselves. We make poor choices, and get into relationship we know is not good, or maybe get over our head in our spending, and now it's painful. We're having to deal with the consequences, and God is full of mercy. He'll always give us the grace to get out of it. But the way to not waste your pain is you have to learn the lesson. Be big enough to look back and say, "Okay, here's where I missed it. I ignored the warnings. I got involved in something that I shouldn't have. I got out of God's timing, got in a hurry. Not going to do that anymore".

There's a lesson in the pain. Don't be hard-headed and have to keep going through the same pain again and again. A man I know has struggled with diabetes most of his life. He ended up a month in the hospital, and I saw him recently, he looks better than ever. He said, "Joel, that stay in the hospital was a wake up call for me. I've lost 40 pounds. I've changed my diet. I exercise every day. I feel like a new man".

What was he doing? Not wasting the pain. He learned the lesson, and we talk a lot about letting go of the past, letting go of the mistakes, the failures, the divorce, and yes, that's true, but another way to say it is remember the lesson. Remember what you learned in the experience, and then let go of the negative event. But if you go through a painful time and you don't come out with what you were supposed to learn, you're doing yourself a disservice.

I talked to a man awhile back, and he was about to get married for his fifth time. "And I'm not judging him, I don't know his story, but he made a statement, "Joel, pray for me. All of my wives end up running around on me". I didn't say it, but I thought to myself, "The one common denominator in this thing is you". There is a lesson in that pain somewhere that he's missing. Don't keep repeating the same mistakes again and again.

It's like this guy I heard, he was driving his car and had an accident, got out so upset. Went over to the other driver and said, "Lady, you need to learn how to drive. You're the fourth person that's run into me today". Here's my question. Are you bringing pain on yourself? Are you struggling in a relationship, not fulfilled because you keep saying everything you feel like saying?

Here's a newsflash: the pain will stop if you zip it up. Don't just go through it, grow through it. Other times, we experience pain that have nothing to do with our choices. Wasn't our fault. We were doing the right thing, and the wrong thing happened. The scripture says rain falls on the just and the unjust. You can be the just, honoring God, being your best, helping others, and it rains in your life. There are forces of darkness trying to keep you from your destiny. God could have stopped it, but he didn't, and even though it's painful now, if you'll stay in faith, that will lead you toward your destiny.
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