“To possess true beauty, we must be willing to suffer . . . if Christ Himself was perfected through His sufferings, why would I believe that God would not do the same with me? Women who are stunningly beautiful are women who have had their hearts enlarged by suffering.”
Captivating: Unveiling the Mystery of a Woman’s Soul” by John and Stasi Eldredge
The women gathered, as they do every week, to study the Bible together and bond with like-minded friends. The lesson was on bowing your pain to God, giving yourself up to His plan no matter how it might hurt personally.
One by one, women shared hurtful experiences of their pasts. Tears welled, words choked, hearts tugged.
And yet all who participated said they could see how it made them better. Through cracking voices and sniffling noses they expressed sincere thanks for the end result.
Obviously God's work left its mark, making them brave enough to mention their trials, instilling in them a desire to show how He redeemed the suffering and used it for their growth. I was empathetic, but I did not feel sorry for them. They were already reaping the rewards of a job well done pressing on in the midst of difficult circumstances.
I was blessed to be sitting among them, inspired by their softness and ability to feel the pain, yet move beyond it. Their tenderness drew me in. The glimmer of gold shining through their tears made me catch my breath. I smiled to see a glimpse of Christ's love and perseverance. I soaked in the beauty of God at work in a group of women willing to go through anything to be used by Him.
They remind me no pain is wasted. Nothing is a mistake. God uses it all to transform us to His image. Suffering buffs the rough edges, polishing us, making us more beautiful than ever.
No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.
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