There's a first time for everything. Recently I heard a pastor use the phrase "load of crap" in his Sunday morning sermon. This church is not your traditional church, the folks sitting in the chairs are not your stereotypical Sunday morning crowd and that has a lot to do with why it was not offensive but was, instead, completely appropriate.
Mark Michael of Crossbridge Christian Church in Tallahassee was talking about how he had lost his mother when he was 4 years old. He said that while that experience was a part of who he is and how he was shaped for this calling, that telling us that he would not trade his current calling in life to have his mother back would be a "load of crap." He'd gladly trade his present position to have his mother back and he had faith that God would still find a way to use him even without the experience of having lost his mother as a small child. Three cheers for honesty!
Ya know, I'd much prefer not to experience some of the pain that I've experienced in life. I, too, believe that God doesn't necessarily put us through trials because that's the only way that we can learn or it's the only way that He can shape us. Every bad thing that we experience is not because God wants us to suffer. While Mark had nothing to do with the loss of his mother, much of the pain that I've experienced is a result of my own doing. God just chooses not to waste that pain but to use it to shape me.
In what ways has God used your self-inflicted pain to shape you for the good?