4 Ways God Uses Pain in Ministry

“Your greatest ministry will most likely come out of your greatest hurt.”

– Rick Warren

Giving Comfort to Others

Who can better understand and sympathize with a couple or person who has lost a child than someone who has dealt with the same thing? Losing a child is beyond description, but someone who’s gone through the same thing can understand what the couple’s going through. They can sympathize because they know how much it hurts. We are told to give comfort to others in the same way that God comforted us when we were hurting. I reached this conclusion because of the Apostle Paul writing that God “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 1:4).

Being Sensitive to Hurt

God never wastes pain or hurt. He can use these things in our lives to soften our hearts and make us more humble. Whatever pain or sufferings you’ve gone through or are currently going through, remember that God has a purpose for everything, which includes your hurt. Since God can use evil for good (Genesis 50:20, John 3:16), we can know that whatever happens to us, good or bad, will work out for our very best (Romans 8:28).

Keeping Us Humble

The Apostle Paul said that God did not take away his pain for a purpose. This pain would help him in his ministry because it was in order “to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited” (2 Corinthians 12:7). Suffering can certainly keep us from being conceited because it tends to keep us humble and reliant on God.

Ministry Is Birthed out of Pain

Did you know God often births a ministry through pain or suffering? That’s because He sometimes has to get our attention. We’re not likely to be as sensitive to God’s will if everything’s going well. But when suffering comes, we might be able to use our pain in order to birth a ministry in the area we’re hurting. In other words, someone who’s disabled can better minister to those who are disabled. God may use that pain to create a ministry for the person who’s suffering so that he or she can help others.


A.W. Tozer once said (paraphrasing) that God cannot use a man greatly until He has first wounded him deeply. Of course, the same thing applies to women. So your greatest ministry may come out of your greatest hurt. You can give the same comfort to others that you’ve received from God; you can be more sensitive to God’s will; you can be kept from being conceited; and God can even birth a ministry out of your pain.