When God uses pain to make something beautiful

Originally published Wednesday, 19 February 2014.

In the same way I will not cause pain without allowing something new to be born," says the Lord. "If I cause you the pain, I will not stop you from giving birth to your new nation," says your God. Isaiah 66:9 (NCV) 

On my desk, a little cactus grows. It has tiny red flowers that blossom despite the stony ground or infrequent watering. 

Her gift is a simple reminder that even in the midst of tough circumstances life and beauty can grow. 

That cactus has become a symbol to me, a picture of that promise: living proof that God births new and good things out of the painfulness in our lives. (tweet this)

Each time a new bud appears amidst tiny thorns, I am reminded that life flourishes in unlikely places and that a God who creates good things can beat the odds and create something beautiful in harsh environments. 

Sometimes life can feel very painful and sore. It can feel like our souls have been rubbed against a lemon zester.  

At times like those, I’m comforted by God's promise, “In the same way I will not cause pain without allowing something new to be born," says the Lord. "If I cause you the pain, I will not stop you from giving birth to your new nation." 

My friend gave birth to a boy on my birthday. 

I wanted to know how he came into the world 15 minutes before midnight. My friend told me that her labour was going well until her son became stuck in the birth canal. 

The final labour, which should have taken about 40 minutes, took two hours. 

In the middle of this, her midwife stayed beside her. She stuck with my friend, she called the gynae, and she spoke my friend through her options. 

Through all this, the contractions kept coming but no baby appeared. 

The midwife tried this and tried that, and after a lot of pain, a new life came into the world. 

My friend's midwife reminded me of God. God stays with me in my pain, he helps with the birthing process, and he finds a way for life to flourish.

I know if you’re struggling with pain, suffering, or hardships in your life, Isaiah 66:9 can seem like putting ice on a broken bone. You may still have an ache, but this promise from God does breathe hope into hard situations.  

Some days hope is all you need to see tomorrow. (tweet this)

Knowing that God will birth a new thing, I believe a good thing, out of all the pain and fear and uncertainty in our lives allows us to see past the thorns and glimpse a little bit of what God may see, a slice of a future filled with good things that he has for me and for you. 

When I feel like giving up, I glance at the little cactus on my desk, and I whisper a prayer that God will help me see the new things pain births.

Ponder: Would it change the way you view your current circumstances if you realized that God can use them to do something new? 

Prayer: God, help me to see the new things that you are birthing out of my pain. Amen. (tweet this)

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- This was orginally published on my site in November 2013 to read more devotionals like this go to ilovedevotionals.com