What You Gain From What You Lose
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Beep ball. Yeah, I'd never heard of it until I received an e-mail from a listener who told me she's blind. Beep ball sounds like fun, unless you're sighted like I am. Apparently, beep ball is a lot like softball except the bases beep. That helps the player know where the bases are or where the ball is coming from, if you have good ears; which, of course, blind people develop. The sighted people have to play blindfolded, and they just can't process the beeps like the blind players can. They're used to hearing more than a sound. They hear the direction of the sound. So the sighted people don't stand a chance!
No one would question that you miss a lot if you can't see. But you also gain some things that other people don't have - like an amazing sense of hearing and the sharpening of your other senses. Just ask those sighted people who keep losing to blind people in beep ball!
See, God has a wonderful way of adding or deepening some precious qualities through our times of loss and limitation and pain. Some of the most unforgettable people I've ever met have been people who've suffered much more than I have, and they will tell you that it was their struggle that made them strong. You may not like the process; you probably won't. But you'll like the beautiful results that can come from the process, if you choose to let it make you better instead of making you bitter.
There's a wonderful statement of how we gain from what we lose in our word for today from the Word of God. It sheds light on those suffering times when we're asking that perplexing question, "Why?" 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 tell us this: "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God."
If you never go through a hurting time, you'll never experience the special compassion and comfort of Almighty God. If you've never experienced that compassion and comfort, you have little or nothing to give to hurting people around you. If you'll seek God in your suffering, He'll pour those caring qualities into you when you're feeling crushed, overwhelmed, in agony. But they're not just to get you through. He fills you up with resources you never had before, resources to make you a well of compassion and comfort for a world of people in pain; resources that can only be developed through hard times...through hurting times.
What senses does God want to deepen through your pain? Incredible qualities like radar for the deep needs behind people's deeds. A sense of compassion, which literally means the ability to "feel with" someone. God can use your pain to cultivate a wonderful tenderness in your heart and your responses. People who have been through the valley with Jesus emerge with an amazing ability to care, to wait, and to trust God. And there's this sense of quiet confidence and peace in someone who has been kept afloat by the total sufficiency of Christ when there was nothing else to hang onto. They have this "nothing can sink me" poise of a person who's found out when Jesus was all they had that Jesus is all you need.
Honestly, having those kind of hardship-sharpened senses gives you an edge in the game of life. God wants you to use what you're going through to give you the emotional equipment to make you a powerful "make a difference" person. This painful process can give you a powerful tool kit from which to be one of God's wounded healers in a hurting world.