Purpose – the intent, the meaning behind an action or event, the “why?” of a situation.
I agree with Beth Moore (in a message titled “God’s Purpose for you” as seen on a video from LifeToday) when she says that God ONLY allows the pain when the purpose is more important – when the purpose outweighs the pain.
All her childhood abuse – all the poor choices she made because of the trauma of that abuse – ALL of it was worth it to her because of God’s purpose for all that pain: Beth’s ministry to women who have been abused, to women who have made poor choices in reaction to pain in their lives, to women who question their worth and usability because of their past.
A former pastor of mine recently posted on Facebook a quote from Helmut Thielicke, who said, “When afflictions and catastrophies come into our lives, we dare not be content to merely ask, ‘Why should this happen to me?’ but rather, ‘To what end, for what purpose, has this burden been sent to me?'” ( “Christ and the Meaning of Life”).
Life is full of surprises for us – but not for God. He never gives up or loses His sovereignty. So if we’re going through a difficult – catastrophic – trying time, we need to ask ourselves: What is God’s purpose for me in this? How does it advance HIS purpose for my life?
And then we wait on the answer.