Our Afflictions Are Light and By Design
Kimberly N. Alleyne
The Harvest Magazine, Publisher and Editor
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”
(Proverbs 3:5–6, NIV)
Why so much pain? There is a song that got me through a rough time several years ago. It was a season of great unknowns. I had no idea what I was supposed to be doing, and felt like a leaf that was being tossed and flopped about in the wind. I was so unsure of myself, where I was headed, and or what I was called to, if anything. I felt aimless and purposeless… I’d often whisper the lyrics to “I Won’t Complain” by Rev. Paul Jones to myself.
In the midst of so many unknowns, my life was mottled by rejection, betrayal, strife, confusion, and turmoil.
Have you ever found yourself in a season where you seem to be walking through dense fog, where you have no idea what lies ahead of you, where you are suspended in a a seemingly incessant holding pattern, where the enemy’s attacks are crippling?
Have you ever crawled your way out of a valley only to wonder, “Why in the world?… “What was that all about?”… “Why did God allow me to endure such pain? Such betrayal? Such rejection? Such loss?”
I DON’T KNOW!
I certainly have found myself in situations like these, more than I can count. There are times when I endure a trial and learn the reason for it immediately, and everything makes perfect sense. But more often than not, I endure and don’t know the purpose behind my pain. Sometimes the not knowing makes the pain deeper, sharper, more intense.
I no longer cry out, “Why so much pain?” I don’t interrogate God anymore about why He allows me to suffer heartache, unfair treatment or judgement, or for my reputation to be marred.
Some where along my journey — a journey dotted with broken relationships, closed doors, misunderstandings and mischaracterizations, and emotional warfare — I grew tired of asking, wondering, and whining. I came to realize and appreciate that God allows EVERYTHING to transpire in my life. That means joy and pain, sunshine and rain. He is SOVEREIGN, which means His throne is occupied by Him alone. That means, as harsh and unfair as it may seem at times, He has a plan for EVERYTHING: every circumstance, every situation, every delay, every denial, every rumor, every elusive dream.
Nothing that occurs in my life is a surprise to God. He wrote out every detail of my life, so how could any thing be a surprise to Him? He authored the blueprint for my life, right down to crushing heartache that drops me to my knees, and causes me to cry uncontrollably. Understand me, while He does not script our pain, He allows it to suit His purposes for our lives. Every pain point has, ultimately, made me wiser, stronger, and more humble. Every pain point has made me a more determined intercessor, and more intentional in my praise and worship. Every pain point has made me chase God, seek His face more passionately, more intensely.
Every pain point has propelled me further into the materialization of my PURPOSE.
Pain has made me desperate for God’s glory, for His manifest presence. I am no longer desperate for His hand, or for Him to bring me out of a storm. Instead, I am madly desperate for His fire, His sweet aroma wafting through the room.
God allows us to experience pain so that we can be refined, sharpened, and further equipped for our purpose — for His purpose. Our pain always has a purpose. God does not waste anything. His ways are perfect and not grievous. Every season in our lives has a divine and pre-destined reason. Over the last eight years, I have encountered prejudice, sexism, rejection, unfairness, closed doors, disrespect, ridicule, unfair treatment, mischaracterizations, betrayals, and character assaults on levels that I could have never imagined. I have been lied on by fellow professors of Christ. I have been blamed for wrongs I never committed, and unrecognized for good and great things. I have been treated wrongly because of my beliefs, my opinions, my gender, my race, and even for praying for and ministering to others. There have been times when I felt like the kid on the playground who no one wanted to play with. I have longed for understanding and acceptance.
[tweetthis]Our afflictions are light, and have an expiration date. God’s love and acceptance are eternal. [/tweetthis]
Indeed, I have cried myself to sleep many times over the last eight years…During my tenure for a Christian nonprofit, shortly after a promotion, I was told that people did not and would not respect me because I am an African-American woman. I was mocked, laughed at, and ridiculed for no reason. I was disrespected and lied on. Satan used people to wage intense battle against me, to stymie my ministry.
“For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.” II Corinthians 4: 17-18
In parallel, over the last eight years I have experienced spiritual, professional, and financial increase on levels that I could have never imagined. The deeper the pain has been, the higher the promotion has been. The more crippling the denial has been, the further I have been catapulted into my destiny. Without fail. I do not always know “why?,” but ultimately, I now understand that every tear drop, all the pain effectively put me one step closer to the realization of God’s plan for me and His Kingdom, and perhaps that is the only answer that matters.
Besides, if the enemy had had his way, I would have turned from God. I would have carried hatred and unforgiveness for my so-called fellow believers who took great pleasure in my harm and heartache. I would have succumbed to the chains of doubt, depression, low self-worth, and bias. I would have packed up my ministry forever, and you would not be reading The Harvest Magazine. But that’s not what happened at all. Instead, I am taller, wiser, and stronger. God increased me in my vision, power, wisdom, and anointing. He increased and expanded my territory for ministry. He replaced those who hate me with people who love me purely and genuinely. He did heart surgery, and I regularly pray for the people who hate and despise me as though they are my loved ones. I am better for the hurt they wielded against me. And much to the enemy’s surprise, and disdain, I AM STILL HERE. I am still standing, and I am standing taller than ever. Not one word spoken by anyone on this earth has any weight in my life. Not one person who has sought to bring me harm has any power over my life.
We get so caught up in people, and their words, works and ways. Who cares about people? They do not matter in the grand scheme of things, and they have no power over our destiny. Often times, they think they do, but God has all the power. He created the earth. He owns the earth, and every thing in it. What can man do?
I realize now that I have afforded far too much energy and concern for others’ opinion and beliefs about me. I now laugh when an individual thinks that he or she has any real control or power over my life. I am no longer moved by those who hate me, who despise me, who plot against me, who eagerly wait for my failure. I no longer cower, or sit on my talents and gifts, or make myself small so that others can feel great. I no longer dull my shine or hesitate to let my shine brightly. I no longer allow the negative words of individuals who don’t have a heaven or a hell to put me in determine my trajectory, or influence my disposition or attitude. I no longer care what others think of me or what they think of me. Why would I do that? Why should I expend emotional or spiritual energy on people–spirits– who are weak, powerless, and who bow their heads at the name of Jesus just as I do?
[tweetthis]Let your light shine brightly! Don’t dull it for anyone. People see God in your light. #newbeginnings #Jubilee[/tweetthis]
Bill Johnson writes about “dying to reputation.” And Joyce Meyer has spoken about giving up concern for reputation. My reputation with the Lord is all that matters. I know who I am and so does He. God is completing a perfect work in me, He has great work for me to, and I intend to do it. Pain and denial now make me praise God even louder because I understand that great things are ahead, that God is about to show up and show out! New beginnings are just around the corner. Miracles are coming to the doorsteps of God’s children. Supernatural strength, increase, and favor with man are on the horizon. Can you see it? I see it so clearly. God collects every tear, and He is with us through every closed door, broken relationship, rejection, and denial.
I don’t care about the “why?” as much as I used to. I get excited because I know brighter days are ahead, and because I am getting closer and closer. He gives us beauty for ashes, replenishment for loss, increase for decrease, great joy for great pain, and new beginnings for closed doors and dry seasons. Why? Because He loves us, and His love heals our sorrows and leads us into our divine destiny.
Our afflictions are light, and by design. Every trial has an expiration date. God’s love and acceptance are eternal.