Daily Devotional: Friday, June 16 - Pain Turned To Gain

“[W]ho through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies.” — Hebrews 11:33-34

>> Sign up here for Sports Spectrum devotionals sent right to your email inbox <<

A year ago, I was watching the Paralympic opening ceremony, and something one of the commentators said has stuck with me ever since. As nation after nation was filing in and people had all kinds of visible and invisible wounds to show for what they’d survived, he noted, “Trauma made them stronger, wiser.”

I had to pause after hearing that. Here were athletes of the highest caliber who all bore scars of some sort that told a story — they had each endured pain in some form that had changed them forever. Many of them had gone through adversity most of us could never dream of. And yet, here they were as a testament to what they’d overcome and the fact that they’d let that very pain, which threatened to crush them, strengthen them and teach them. As a trauma survivor myself, I resonated with that deeply.

But the story of these brave people is also the story of all of us. None of us has walked through life without encountering some suffering. While we may struggle to accept it and wrestle with the impact it has on our personal lives, we cannot avoid it, however hard we try. That being said, we are then faced with a choice as to how we are going to respond to and harness that suffering, that pain. We can either choose to fight it and resent it, or we can choose to embrace it and lean into what it has to show us.

People have always had a difficult time with the question of why God allows pain and suffering. It seems reasonable to assume that, since He’s a God of love, He wouldn’t want people to endure the hardships that so commonly occur in our world. Yet, if we’re honest, we must admit that He Himself showed us there was no other way to overcoming than through trials. He demonstrated that the glory of an empty grave was only possible by walking the way of the cross. That submission to the Father’s plan sometimes looks like going through unfair, uncomfortable, heart-wrenching things.

As I’ve asked God why He’s let some of the things happen that I’ve gone through, I’ve come back time and again to a simple principle. While I may not understand the full reasons behind what I’ve experienced, my choice to keep falling forward and moving through them has always led me to what Hebrews 11:33-34 says of those who now stand in triumph before God’s throne: My weakness has been turned to strength, and my willingness to let pain refine me has shown me a greater hope, a bigger victory than I ever could’ve dreamed.

I don’t know what difficult thing you may be facing right now but I do know this: As long as you keep seeking God’s face through it all, as long as you continue to turn toward the pain and not run away, you will grow in strength and wisdom in ways you never would otherwise.

— Katherine Singer

If you would like to submit a devotional, please email all submissions to

Click here for all Sports Spectrum Daily Devotionals

>> Subscribe to Sports Spectrum Magazine for more devotionals and stories where sports and faith connect <<

>> Purchase “The Increase 52 Week Devotional” to further grow your relationship with Christ <<