Recycle your pain

I don’t think I’ve met a single person who hasn’t had challenges in their life.

Sure, some challenges seem bigger than others. Some people have had children die or been sexually abused or experienced other kids of trauma. But any kind of difficulty—no matter the “size”—can change your life forever.

When we’ve gone through something hard, we often want to tuck it away and not talk about it. And I get that. But what if that experience could somehow improve the life of someone else?

Mark Batterson doesn’t think we should waste our difficulties. He says that if you let God do his work, “He’ll recycle your pain for someone else’s gain.”

He doesn’t mean that bad things are good (they’re not), or that you should re-live your past, or that you should be forced into talking about something if you don’t want to. He’s talking about being open to the idea that your experience could somehow improve the life of someone else.

In Romans 8:28 (NRSV) we read: “We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.” That doesn’t mean that all things are good—but that for those who love God and are called according to his purpose, good can come out of all things, including hardship.

What if you could lend an ear of support to someone who no one else understands because you’ve “been there”?

What if you have some wisdom that only you can give because you’ve been through that dark valley?

What if a mistake in your own life has grown you as a person, and you can be a better leader to those around you in a way you could never have imagined before?

Your most painful moments don’t have to be your defining moments.

Maybe over the next few days you just need to keep your ears open. Someone will ask a question or need some support, and you’ll be able to provide wisdom or encouragement that only you can give.


Because, by the power of God, you’ve got an invisible scar that can help heal someone else’s wound.

By Matthew Ruttan

  • “Up!” is published 5 days a week (Tuesday to Saturday) and returns on May 9th.

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