Not long ago one of my teenagers was grumbling about not being able to go out with friends because she had mismanaged her money and did not have enough money to buy gas for her car. She was not happy. We had a brief parent/daughter exchange about what lesson she learned from not managing her money properly. I, in all my parental wisdom, said simply, “Pain instructs.” This quote from Benjamin Franklin just seemed like the best words of wisdom I could offer at the time. Of course, my daughter didn’t think so, and she walked away rolling her eyes.
I think my daughter’s reaction to suffering is typical of most of us. We don’t like it. We don’t want anything to do with it. And we hope if we ignore it long enough, it will go away. Divorce certainly brings on significant suffering. There is the initial tidal wave of suffering that occurs when the divorce first hits. Then, there is an extended period of suffering, while not as intense, seems to confront us daily as we try to reconstruct our lives. Contrary to logic, it is in these daily sufferings where we have the greatest opportunity to make our lives better. Each suffering is an invitation from God for Him to act in our lives, an invitation to help us by teaching us, improving us, and loving us. When we run from our suffering, we push God away. We deny His invitation. Try instead to accept His invitation for help. Open your heart and mind to what He wants you to learn. Allow Him to use the experience to change and improve you. And most of all, receive His abundant love and mercy. Doing these things allows God to transform your suffering into something good.
In this you rejoice, although now for a little while you may have to suffer through various trials, so that the genuineness of your faith, more precious than gold that is perishable even though tested by fire, may prove to be for praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. – 1 Peter 1:6-7