A Well-Paved Path

Pain. Grief. Weakness. Limitations. None of us welcome these unwanted visitors—especially when they take up long-term residence in our lives. Each one causes distress in its own way. And let’s be honest. We all do our best to avoid distress whenever possible.

We don’t like to hurt. We don’t like to fail or find ourselves unable to do certain things. But as we live in these places of pain, we grow and learn lessons. We develop a deep empathy for others experiencing similar sorrows. Each of our painful places has the potential to become a well-paved path to another hurting soul.

In the New Testament, we see that the apostle Paul experienced pain, hardship, and limitations time and again. While we may feel the chains of weakness and limitations in our lives, Paul dealt with literal chains during the times he was imprisoned for the sake of the gospel.

He didn’t give in to discouragement during those imprisonments, however. While shackled and suffering, Paul saw the good that came from his chains. In his letter to the Philippians (1:14), he said, “Because of my chains, most of the brothers in the Lord have been encouraged to speak the word of God more courageously and fearlessly.”

Surely our chains of pain, grief, weakness, or limitations serve to encourage others as well. Other struggling folks might very well be inspired to persevere through their own trials as they see how God strengthens us in ours.

Whether reaching out to hurting souls going through similar situations as our own or whether being a beacon of hope and encouragement through the witness of our lives, let’s let our painful places result in good. Let’s let our lives be well-paved paths.

“Praise be to 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 1:3-4

*My photo


  1. Hi Cheryl,

    What a lovely, inviting picture. I just had to stop and stare at it for a few minutes. LOL

    I believe that God absolutely does use our pain to touch others–He certainly has mine. My favorite part? I love when He brings healing and shows off!

  2. Nice photo! Glad you are enjoying your new camera.

    My first choice in suffering is that God “shows off” (nice description, Julie!).

    It takes great thought and strength to remember to ask Him to show me how to not waste times of distress. He doesn’t always provide clear answers as to why the suffering has been allowed.

  3. Hey gals, I’m enjoying hearing your thoughts on pain and suffering — and so glad you’ve enjoyed the photo! Believe it or not, Jana, I took that one with my old camera, my little Sony Cybershot. I caught the light, etc. at just the right time — a lucky shot for sure! :)

  4. Thanks, Cheryl. I can’t tell you the number of times your words are EXACTLY what I needed to read in a moment of time. I’m struggling and so this was a really great reminder for me.

  5. Such a beautiful reminder, Cheryl, not to waste our pain. I appreciate this more than you know.


  6. What a beauty of a pic! I would love to visit CO one day. You make it look so inviting!

    And you’re right, I don’t like to hurt. I don’t like my loved ones (or anyone) to hurt, either. And you are also right, it can lead to us having deep empathy for others.

    You are a precious person, Cheryl. Thank you for sharing your heart… and pics!

  7. Emily and Elaine, what a blessing to hear how much this post meant to you! Thanks so much for letting me know. Emily, I pray that the Lord will strengthen and minister to you in your struggles, and Elaine, I continue to keep you in my prayers.

    Donna, thanks so much for your sweet words of encouragement. You’re a pretty special person, too! And I hope you make it to CO soon. You would love it!

  8. Good reminders, Cheryl. Thank you!

    As I was sitting next to a dead car on Monday night, I was wrestling through some of this stuff. Choosing grace, choosing to see God’s gifts, breathing in his Spirit, breathing in contentment and an eternal perspective…

    It is a discipline that takes me time to learn though. Anyone else resonate with that?

    Jennifer Dougan

  9. Jennifer, you’re so right. Choosing an eternal perspective — choosing to see good that can come from our pain — does take time to learn. Thankfully, the longer we walk with the Lord and see how He is faithful to use our pain, the more readily we can make that choice to trust Him in current trials. Practice, even in this, makes a difference, right?

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