The word misery is defined as: wretchedness of condition or circumstances, distress or suffering caused by need, privation, or poverty, great mental or emotional distress; extreme unhappiness (dictionary.com).
Notice there are several descriptions of the term misery yet all sum up to one type of experience, a negative one. We all experience misery in distinct ways. What is miserable to one person can be satisfying to another or what we see as miserable, others see as enjoyable.
No matter what your misery looks like, there is a miracle behind it. Our misery is either a product of our own choices, a God given detour, or a little bit of both. Regardless of who or what brings the misery, God makes all things work together for our good Romans 8:28 (NLT).
About a year ago, I experienced a season of misery. I endured a series of unfortunate events, which at the time I didn’t understand why things unfolded the way they did. Thankfully, God has shown me through His love and grace a portion of His plans for my life through these circumstances.
Prior to my season of misery, I volunteered as a youth leader in which I ministered, mentored, and led the hospitality ministry for the youth at my church.
Within three years of passionately and faithfully serving, one unfortunate event led to the next and then the next. It was then where my misery began. To make a long story short, unhealthy relationships in ministry caused me to step down from serving as a youth leader.
My misery consisted of not being able to do what I love and enjoy, feeling misunderstood, denied, confused and alone, without purpose or a sense of direction. After agreeing to step down from my position as a youth leader, even though it hurt and I was unhappy with the situation, I chose to trust God and believe He was working and fighting for me behind the scenes.
While seeking God’s guidance in all this, I felt led to transition out of that church. The thought of transitioning out and starting over at a different church was difficult. However, I knew this was God’s plan for me even if it didn’t make sense. What kept me going was His peace through it all.
My misery did not end once I transitioned out. I continued to feel miserable with the fact I wasn’t doing what I enjoyed-serving and leading youth at church. To be honest, I didn’t like the feeling of starting over in ministry at a new church, or practicing being still before God.
It didn’t take me long to realize God simply wanted me to be still and know He was up to something greater than what I thought was good enough. A few months later, I invited a friend to church with me. She had been struggling with attending church and coming back to the arms of our heavenly father. Nevertheless, I continued to invite her, encourage her, and remind her of how precious and valuable she is to God.
Fast forward a couple months, God did a major work in her life and healed her from past hurt and resentment she had been harboring in her heart. She is now actively involved in our church and on fire to seek more of Him who set her free!
Had I not allowed God to guide me and complete His work in me through this miserable season of my life, perhaps my friend would still be lost and far away from coming back to God. Your misery may look, feel, and even sound different than mine, but I assure you there is purpose behind every tear, struggle, and ounce of pain you are feeling.
Someone is waiting for you to overcome your misery, so they too can believe it is possible to overcome what seems impossible. Be encouraged and know that God is at work in your life even in the hard times.
Sometimes, God allows us to go through the pain of misery to bring breakthrough in someone else’s life. Galatians 6:9 (ESV) reads, “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.”
Trust me, enduring your misery is worth it when you witness the breakthrough of others around you!