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What do you do when you feel crushed? The doctor calls, the gavel drops, the report is printed, and you are left to pick up the pieces of pain you may have never seen coming. Do you shrink back in disappointment, or do you charge forward in faith?

Over the next four days, Levi Lusko unpacks how we can navigate the pain points of our lives with fresh endurance. 

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12.28.2023

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What do you do when you feel crushed? The doctor calls, the gavel drops, the report is printed, and you are left to pick up the pieces of pain you may have never seen coming. Do you shrink back in disappointment, or do you charge forward in faith?

Over the next four days, Levi Lusko unpacks how we can navigate the pain points of our lives with fresh endurance. 

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Day 02

Is There A Purpose for My Pain
Is There A Purpose for My Pain

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What Was I Made For?

Day 03

Is There A Purpose for My Pain
Is There A Purpose for My Pain
Is There A Purpose for My Pain

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Entrusted with Pain

Day 04

Is There A Purpose for My Pain
Is There A Purpose for My Pain
Is There A Purpose for My Pain
Is There A Purpose for My Pain?

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Is There Hope When It Hurts?

If you were to hold the elements that make sought-after perfumes in your hand, you would notice that they don’t naturally give off an aroma. Rather, the precious components that combine to make perfume require crushing to give off a scent.

The same is true for us. To be a fragrance of Christ to the world around us, we ask God, “Will you crush us?” 

It is how we endure that crushing – the heartbreak we didn’t see coming, the phone call we can’t forget, the loss that still stings – that makes us conduits of Christ to those around us.

Today, we are going to look at two prominent men of the faith who experienced pain and, through their stories, discern how we, too, might endure what is trying to take us out. 

Video

Summary

Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that what has happened to me has actually served to advance the gospel. As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ. And because of my chains, most of the brothers and sisters have become confident in the Lord and dare all the more to proclaim the gospel without fear.

Philippians 1:12-14

We are starting today’s journey with Paul, who wrote this letter to the church at Philippi while in prison. When he opens this letter we now call Philippians, Paul thanks God for them, addresses their concern, and shares his love for them. When we pick up in verse 12, we see that while imprisoned, Paul is still confident that Christ is using Him. 

Look at verse 14, “most of the brothers and sisters have become confident in the Lord and dare all the more to proclaim the gospel without fear.”

Paul’s unlikely circumstance was the seedbed for other believers to be bold in Christ too. When we boldly stand on the promises of God, it encourages the person next to us to be filled with faith and rise up as well. Courage is contagious.  

Paul teaches us that the confidence we have in Christ, even when we are crushed, builds a courageous spirit in the community around us. 

Don’t shrink back, stride forward. 

What happens when you shrink back? What if your plan falls through? That is where we pick up with the second person in our journey today.

 Jeremiah was called by God to be a prophet before he was born. Destined for impact, Jeremiah would stand before kings and speak to the nation, courageously calling out how they continued to forsake the Lord.

As Jeremiah went forth to preach to the people in his hometown of Anathoth, he was met with resistance. As disdain grew for the message he was bringing, Jeremiah retreated back to God and made his complaints known.


God answers Jeremiah in chapter 12, verse 5, saying: 

If you have raced with men on foot

    and they have worn you out,

    how can you compete with horses?

If you stumble in safe country,

    how will you manage in the thickets by the Jordan?

If you can’t keep up with men, how can you run with horses?

If you stumble in safety, how will you prevail in problems?

Tomorrow, we will unpack what God’s answer meant for Jeremiah and for us.

What's Next?

Yesterday, we were introduced to Paul and Jeremiah – two men called by God who faced difficulty on their journeys. Today, we are taking a deeper look into the response and outlook of both Paul and Jeremiah. As we unpack more of God’s response to Jeremiah, we will see how the strength to prevail is not found in our own power.

Video

Summary

Like a distance runner set out on their first big race, Jeremiah was oxygen-depleted, wondering how he could gather enough air to complete the race set out before him. He was out of air, out of options, out of “enough” to continue on.

You don’t have to be in a literal race to understand that feeling. We’ve all felt frustrated in the will of God. Not because of sin or trials we chose, but because we have found ourselves suffering in God’s plan while obeying God’s plan. 

That is why, at face value, God’s answer to Jeremiah in Jeremiah 12:5 seems cruel. 

But God wasn’t diminishing Jeremiah’s pain. He was putting it in perspective. Jeremiah could not accomplish what God had set before him on his own. 

When did you find out you didn’t have enough in your own flesh to accomplish something lasting?

The divorce of your parents?

Losing your job?

The rejection letter from the school of your dreams?

Watching someone you love walk away? 

In our own strength, we can’t accomplish anything powerful or lasting. Our first wind is never enough. 

Jeremiah was never to go out and establish his own kingdom in his own power, but rather to build God’s kingdom, centered around the Name Above Every Name. 

The only way to your destiny is through difficulty and disappointment. 

Jeremiah needed to train for the trial he was not yet in, building endurance for the difficulty ahead. 

Paul did this well. Even after being stoned, even when facing imprisonment, Paul continued to press on for the sake of the Gospel. There are two sides to every chain. At face value, Paul’s chains locked him in prison, but they also became a platform to proclaim the Gospel. Look at Philippians 4:12.

All God’s people here send you greetings, especially those who belong to Caesar’s household.

Because God put Paul in prison, people in Ceasar’s household came to faith. Just like He saved Israel by putting Joseph into a pit, don’t be fooled by face value. What you believe is setting you back may, in fact, be setting you up for God to be known to the world around you. 

What dream has God placed in your heart? And how might be accomplish it in a roundabout way that will involve your suffering?

What's Next?

Right now, do you feel like you have an outlook similar to Paul's, or are you frustrated like Jeremiah was?

What if the pain wasn’t a hurdle to jump over but an honor to behold? As we continue in our journey together on day three, we are going to ask and answer just that together.

Video

Summary

“Pain is something to be cherished” – Katherine Wolfe

Think about that for a moment. To cherish what tried to seemingly take us out is the ultimate uno-reverse to what our flesh may tell us. When we open scripture, we see that in our crushing, loss, or pain, we may not be promised a solution, but we are promised God’s presence.

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted

    and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

Psalm 34:18

In our pain, God leans in. If we can begin to grasp His nearness and His plan for us, then we could start to see our pain as an honor. 

Why? Because God puts to use what He puts us through. As we see through the life of Paul, whatever suffering comes our way can be a seedbed for the glory of God to be known. The pain, the crushing, the weight of what you have been dealt may feel like a variety of pieces, but in the hand of God, they are a platform for His purposes.

What you have been handed is a precursor to multiplication, a means for the Gospel to be known. When we lean into the breaking, we discover that God is in the business of multiplying. 

So, we leave today with two important questions:

Would you be willing to use your pain as a platform for the salvation of others? Would you be willing to be broken for God to work?

What's Next?

Think about the things in your life that have been difficult in the past, or are disappointing currently. How do you view these circumstances?

Remember that first wind we talked about on day two? The one we discovered would never be enough to pull us through?

As we conclude our time together today, we are looking to our second wind, the Holy Spirit, to encourage, convict, guide, and empower us throughout our lives.

Video

Summary

In our pain, the enemy wants nothing more than for us to run from God. 

If we only knew that God has good plans for us but never worked out a theological framework of truth, it would make sense that we would run at the first sign of trouble.

Don’t run. Anchor down. 

Like Paul in prison, you can decide to shine the light of Jesus and be a fragrance of Him to the world around you, even in chains.

When your first wind fails you. 

When you have given it all you got. 

When you can’t see the outcome. 

When you’re doubled over and breathing deep.

You can trust God for a second wind through the Holy Spirit. 

Jesus sent the Holy Spirit at Pentecost to be with us and to take us where we could never go on our own. The Holy Spirit is our helper, filling our lungs with faith when it seems like we can’t take another breath. 

There is hope for our deepest pains. There is a plan for the disappointments we can’t shake, for the circumstances we never saw coming.

Even in our suffering, even in our brokenness, we can ask God for us to have our eyes open to see how this is all for the glory of God. We can see ourselves sent out as ambassadors on mission, arrows shot out into a world full of places like Anathoth where we need to shine the light of Jesus brightly. 

Your pain, surrendered to God, and through the second wind of the Holy Spirit has a purpose greater than you could ever imagine.

What's Next?

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Scripture References

  • Hebrews 6:19
  • Philippians 1:12-14
  • Jeremiah 12:5
  • John 16:33
  • Philippians 4:22
  • Psalm 34:18
Levi Lusko Levi Lusko is the founder and lead pastor of Fresh Life Church, located in Montana, Wyoming, Idaho, Oregon, Utah, and everywhere online. He is a best-selling author, podcast host, husband, and father of five, and travels the world speaking about Jesus.

Day 02

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We Need to Talk

Day 03

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The Role of the Church

Day 04

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Tearing Down the Veneer

Day 05

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Your Destiny is in Staying

Day 02

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Trials Lead to Temptation

Day 03

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Eliminate the Moment

Day 04

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What Will This Bad Habit Cost Me?

Day 05

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The Lie That Gives Power to Our Sin