I’ve seen a series of stories lately about teenagers making a difference and there was a story about a girl with a painful knee condition. The only time she had relief was when she was laying down and reading. She said, “When I read, it’s a real escape,” Bearup says. “I try to take myself into the book instead of in the real world where I’m in so much pain.” She matched her pain with her love of books and started to collect books to give to homeless shelters. To date she has donated over 38,000 books in multiple states. You can read the rest HERE
How can we, as leaders, help teens see that their pain can have purpose?
With me, it was the loss of a father. I use that hole in my heart to minister to kids with no dads. I’ve taken guys fishing, out to lunch, ball games and other outings. I use this time to pour into them and affirm them. It’s important that men come along side these students to let them know they are worthy, they can do any thing they want in life and that they have a purpose.
What painful experiences have you been through? How could you use them to minister to your students? Think of the hurting kids in your youth ministry. Is there a ministry waiting to be born? Where do we start?
- Be open to seeing students as ministers instead of attendees.
- Give teens time to work through their pain before asking them to use it to serve others
- Let it be the students idea. Open the door but let them walk through.
- Confirm that there are no scraps with God. God uses everything in our lives, even our pain.
- Keep your eyes open for stories like the one above and share them with your group to inspire them.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. – 2 Corinthians 1:4
God designed our pain to act as fuel so we can comfort other. If we hold on to pain rather than burn it service to others, it will only turn to bitterness.
to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor and the day of our God’s vengeance, to comfort all who mourn, to provide for those who grieve in Zion— to give them a crown of beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, and a garment of praise in place of a spirit of despair. So they will be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified. Isiah 61:3
The Jews had suffered much though their captivity, but God assured them that He will offer them beauty, joy and a garment of praise for their pain. God does the same for us. God tells us, that the pain we suffer today can be exchanged for something better and, in the end, we will be like oaks of righteousness pointing the way to the one who healed and restored us.
Your students have pain, but that doesn’t mean it has to be unproductive pain. Teach them to use it as fuel to help someone else.