"Don't waste your pain"
Rick Warren has been giving a series of sermons at his Saddleback Church based on his experience of Matthew's suicide.
"Our deepest life message often comes out of our deepest pain," he said.
"I can endure pain if I see a purpose in it. But sadly, most people squander their suffering, don't profit from their problems, never learn from their losses and are unable to advance from their adversity or gain from their pain."
He pointed out suffering could make believers become more like Christ as He learned obedience through suffering.
In a similar way, he challenged people to use their pain to draw closer to God and to others.
"God didn't spare Jesus, His only Son from pain; what makes you think He will spare you?" he added.
"The secret of every winner, whether in business, sport, love, finance or relationships, is resilience – the ability to bounce back from setbacks or failure," Warren continued.
"Winners have the same problems losers do, but they get back up while losers stay down. The secret to a person's resilience is perspective."
Most importantly, our personal pain can be channeled to bless others, he contended.
"Don't waste your pain, let God heal it, recycle it, utilise it and use it to bless other people," he said. "Use your pain as a model for your message and a witness to the world. But to touch other people, you need to be honest – with God, yourself and others – and you need to be vulnerable."
Citing 2 Corinthians 1:4 - 6, Warren said he intended to continue sharing with others the same comfort he himself had been given.
"The fellowship of suffering is the deepest of all," he said. "Odds aren't good for a couple who loses a child, as nearly one-third of these marriages end in divorce. But Kay and I give each other a lot of grace, are closer today since Matthew's death, and I am more in love with my wife than ever before."
This made me think of the story of Archbishop Fulton Sheen.
Think of how much Suffering there is in Hospitals, among the Poor, and the Bereaved.
Think also of how much of that Suffering Goes-to-Waste!
How many of those Lonesome, Suffering, Abandoned, Crucified Souls are saying with Our Lord at the Moment of Consecration, "This is my Body. Take it"?
There is nothing harder, at the moment of great pain, than lifting one's self up to Christ and saying, "Here, take this. Use it. Make my suffering a part of Your Perfect Suffering." And yet, there is no other way.
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