As I approach my college graduation, more and more conversations have begun circling around this certain topic: what am I supposed to do with my life? What is my vocation? And as someone who desires to serve the Lord in some form of ministry, the question frequently becomes: how can I serve God with the gifts and talents He has given me? What is my calling?
This is a beautiful question to ask. Uncovering the best path for our future is very important to all of us. We are all eager to find our own unique calling in life which will bring us the most joy and fulfillment. And when we find that sweet-spot of our calling, it can be one of the most exciting and satisfying moments for our heart.
How do we go about this? Frequently, we take personality tests, look at our strengths, assess our desires and wants, or even follow the suggestions of our families and friends. We try to find the niche of ministry that best suits us.
But what if I were to suggest that sometimes it is not our talents and gifts which point us in the right direction to help serve others?
What if I told you the answer might lie in your wounds?
Wounds Can Become Wellsprings of Grace
We all have experienced hurt and pain throughout our lives, and much of our experience has contributed to wounds in our hearts. Maybe this wound comes from you experiencing a tragic loss of a loved one; maybe you seriously struggled with depression or self-harm at some point in your life; maybe you grew up within a broken family; maybe you have experienced deep and emotional heartbreak; maybe you have walked through periods of serious disease. There are as many different types of hurt as there are different types of people. We all have something that we can pinpoint as causing us deep pain, that has presented us with the opportunity to rely deeply on the Lord and His strength.
But no matter what your wounds are, those experiences have uniquely equipped you to serve others going through similar situations.
In Service to Others
Saint Paul tells us:
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. // 2 Corinthians 1:3-4
When we have received the Lord’s comfort in our afflictions, we are better able to turn and comfort others when they experience the same affliction. A mother who has experienced the suffering of the death of her child can walk with another mother through the same struggle, much better than a mother who has never walked through it.
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Are Wounds a Weakness?
With all this in mind, I have a challenge for you. Rather than viewing your wounds as a weakness, I dare you to swing your perspective and see your wounds as some of your greatest strengths. Not only can God reveal Himself to us within those wounds by providing us comfort and strength, but He can then use the witness of our wounds as an avenue for others to experience His consolation as well.
Someone else may be in need of your wounds.
Therefore, when we examine ourselves in an attempt to find the whisper of God’s call for us in our lives, I believe we cannot and should not overlook the wounds that we have experienced. God may be calling us in a unique way to serve Him and serve others particularly out of the wounds that have shaped our hearts.
Not the Only Consideration
A word of warning here: there are some wounds that may be too recent, or may simply be too personal and painful to share. If that’s the case for you, that is totally fine. None of this means we should be proclaiming our deepest struggles and hurts from the rooftops. As in all things, there is need for discretion and prudence here.
Rather, if you have experienced a wound in your life through which the Lord has brought healing and glory, consider that He might be calling you to walk with someone going through a similar struggle. If you can pinpoint a hurt in your life that you would never, ever wish upon another person, why not put that desire to work and help console those who are suffering the same way?
I Saw Your Glory
Saint Augustine once said:
I saw Your glory in my wounds and it dazzled me. -Saint Augustine #BISblog // Click To Tweet
I saw Your glory in my wounds and it dazzled me.
God wants to bring His glory from our wounds. He wants to show His power, healing, and love from our wounds. He wants to dazzle us by bringing goodness out of those places of deepest hurt, both for ourselves and for others. After all:
We know that in everything God works for good with those who love him, who are called according to his purpose. // Romans 8:28
Let us let Him use our wounds to bring about His glory.