God’s Purpose for Pain

“Come, let us return to the Lord; for he has torn us, that he may heal us; he has struck us down, and he will bind us up” (Hosea 6:1, esv).

You—yes, you—can have a fresh downpour of God’s grace and mercy upon your life.

No matter how far away you are or how long you’ve been gone, God invites you to come back to Him. Hosea 6:1 is a call to personal revival: “Come, let us return to the Lord.”

The prophet Hosea ministered at a time when the people of Israel were far from God; prosperous, yet wayward, idolatrous, and self-indulgent. Successful in worldly pursuits, they were disastrously out of contact with the One they were created to enjoy most. Sound familiar?

But God will go to extremes to reach His wayward kids. As part of His plan to restore the Israelites to Himself, God instructed Hosea to marry a prostitute. Hosea’s faithful love for his unfaithful wife became a picture of the Lord’s persistent, pursuing love for obstinate people (read: us). His desire is for our restoration and revival.

Notice the invitation to “come.” You don’t have to be where you are. Hear the tender-hearted pleading; you don’t have to live the life you’re living. You don’t have to experience sorrow and heartbreak. You can return.

“Come let us return to the Lord, for He has torn us . . .” Make no mistake, God has permitted the pain in your life. But when you’re feeling torn in two, He has not abandoned you. Far from turning away in callousness, He’s moving toward you with compassion for every hurt He has allowed.

Maybe right now you’re in the middle of a trial God is divinely leveraging to draw you to Himself. The pain will not go away until the reason for its arrival has been completed. God’s love is not a pampering love but a perfecting love. He is totally committed to you as He accomplishes the purposes for the suffering He permits. Sometimes the pathway to personal revival—to a further and deeper knowledge of Him—is through pain.

“He has torn us, that He may heal us.” But truth be told, we want the healing without the tearing. If that were possible, God would want it too.

Yes, He is the one who strikes down… but only so He can bind you up.

Surgeons don’t lament the pain of a procedure. Just as a physician often must wound to heal, just as bone is purposely broken to be properly set or skin is cut open to remove a tumor, so God allows pain to help your heart make its way back to Him.

Will you let life’s pain bring you to God’s purposes? He knows you desperately need Him, and He’s willing to do whatever it takes to see you return.

Give yourself to the pursuit of God. Your doubt can become faith. Your discouragement can become joy. And your despair can become purpose and fulfillment—a reviving of your heart beyond anything you could imagine.


  • What has a hold on your heart and is keeping you from returning fully to the Lord?
  • How does the knowledge that God has purposes for allowing pain change the way you see your trials?

God, my heart consistently wanders from You. Forgive me for being unfaithful. I repent of my self-centeredness, and my lack of trust in who You are and how You love. Thank You for Your unfailing pursuit of me in spite of my sin and for sparing nothingnot even pain—to bring me back to You. Help me see my circumstances through Your eyes, choose You over everything else, and to stay there. Please… revive my heart and my passion for my Lord Jesus Christ. In His name I pray, amen.