There is no such thing as a support group for perfect people. Can you imagine one? The preamble might go something like this, “The only requirement for membership in Perfect People Anonymous is a desire to stop being perfect.” I imagine such a meeting would be sparsely attended. If they did exist, perfect people certainly would neither want to stop being that way nor need the support of other perfect people. Why would they? They’re perfect!
Human beings are not drawn to one another because of their common perfection but by their common suffering. Remember back to the last time you were hurting and honestly consider whether you would prefer to hear from a friend for whom the world was all roses and rainbows or from one who had just been through an ugly patch similar to yours? Let’s face it, the Pollyanna approach rarely works on one who is truly suffering. That’s one of the great things about Jesus: He meets us in our condition, troubled or not. Similarly, it is the experience of our own pain that connects us to our purpose. What caused me pain yesterday makes me passionate today, and it is only in my passion that I am of any use to anyone else who is suffering. God created us to be in community, one with another, and it is pain that constitutes the mortar of that structure. Who can comfort a grieving mother like another? Who can best encourage an alcoholic like one recovering from the same affliction? What unites us is our common brokenness. We are a mosaic of broken pieces, all fitting together just as the Creator fashioned us, each jagged edge fitting precisely in the place where He intended.
The desperate cries of all those lonely, angry nights when I shook my fist at God and asked, “Why?” are answered in the faces of those around me who suffer within my arms’ reach. Many are currently experiencing the same pain I have endured and survived. My encouragement may be the only tangible evidence of God’s love to caress them. My testimony may be their only strand of hope. And when I have walked a while alongside a fellow sufferer, I will recognize the hand of God was guiding me even through my darkest valleys, so His purposes could be accomplished. I have experienced pain so I can help others survive it, and point them to the One who holds us all, loves us all, and has a detailed plan to bring us each to completion in Him.
Holy Father, today, may I be a dispenser rather than a consumer. May my life produce for You whatever You designed it to. Deliver me from the idol self-worship of worry and regret, and free me to live according to Your purpose, provision, and protection. I offer You my feeble, faulty will, and I accept Your perfect, holy one for my life. Build into me integrity of soul, that I may no longer be divided by distractions and carnal desires, but would consistently act as Your loyal servant-child for Your glory and purpose, never my own. Help me to put my painful past to good use, that it too might have a purpose; and help me to remember those met opportunities when next a trial must come my way so that, rather than protesting in my doubt, I might obediently submit with the joy of knowing You will supply the opportunity to capitalize the experience for Your glory.
“He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us” (2 Corinthians 1:4, NLT)
“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Ephesians 2:10, NIV)
“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin.” (Hebrews 4:15, NIV)
“…He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1:6, NIV)
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” (James 1:2-4, NIV)