Why Pain?

29 05 2013

 

      How could a good God cause good people to suffer?  It’s a question for the ages.  Because the ways of God are not our ways (Isaiah 55:8), we either blame God, come up with an alternative explanation based on reason, or seek God’s grace when hope fades and weakness abounds.  The third choice takes faith, but delivers grace in circumstances and strength in weakness.  It’s a thorny issue; ask Paul (II Corinthians 12:7-10).  I do not pretend to answer for God, but allow me to take a stab at the issue of pain.  We live with pain, we have to, but why?

1.   It lets you know something is being achieved.   As a young boy, my uncle often took me fishing.  He was a retired Air Force, WW II vet.  We were trolling in his fishing boat.  I had on my line one of my favorite lures, bought with my hard earned money.  I hit a snag, the line snapped, the lure was gone.  I was upset with the loss.  Instead of showering me with sympathy, giving me one to replace it, or boosting my self esteem, he simply said, “No guts, not glory.”  It’s the first time I ever heard the phrase.  Since then, I have learned the truth over and over again.  As a runner, I lived the truth:  no pain, no gain.  Paul learned that his pain gained the power of God: no pain, no gain.  Pain lets us know that something is being achieved.

2.   It reminds us of our Heavenly Physician.   When we entertain uninvited pain in our body, we run to the doctor.  As we bear continual pain, it reminds us to run to our Heavenly Doctor.  Sure, He can perform instantaneous miracles; sometimes He won’t (II Corinthians 12:7-10).  Instead, He writes a prescription for something better.  It is called “grace”.  Why is it, at testimony time, we only hear from people who are delivered from pain?  We need to hear from those who live with pain, but have learned to rejoice in it!  You say, “that’s crazy”.  No, it’s Christlike.

3.   It indicates the heart is still tender.  In Psalm 119:67 it says, “Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now have I kept thy word.”  In other words, affliction is a tool God uses to keep our heart soft toward spiritual things.  Paul was given a thorn in the flesh to keep his heart humble and not hard hearted through pride.  By the way, the ones who liven in pain are sensitive to the pain of others.  Why?  Because pain softened their heart.

4.   It directs your attention to the cause of pain.  Did you ever pound a nail into a board and hit the wrong nail?  Your whole body and mind are sharply focused on the pain.  Vocabulary becomes reactionary.  In that case, the cause of pain is a bad aim.  In Paul’s case, it is , “lest I should be exalted above measure”.  He knew the cause of his pain.  Sometimes (like Job), we don’t.  Pain get our attention and causes us to search our own soul.

5.   It allows you to deepen your faith in a good God.  The word “affliction” is used in the Bible for the first time in Genesis 15:13.  It is a prophecy of Israel’s 400 year bondage in Egypt.  When they were delivered, it was a watershed event.  All the way through the Old Testament, the Israelites pointed to that grand exodus as proof of God’s goodness.  In the New Testament, the watershed event is Calvary.  Our faith grows only through pain and affliction, never through sunshine and comfort.  Someone has said, “When you have nothing left but God, then for the first time you become aware that God is good enough.”

6.   It gives you a greater appreciation of Heaven.  In Revelation 21:4 we find that in Heaven there will be no more pain.  Sure, there are benefits of pain, but I still don’t like it!  I wish there was a better way, but right now I can put my hope in a better day!  Heaven will have no pain!  There is enough hope in that truth to encourage our continual trust in our Heavenly Father.

Pain is a universal thing.  It identifies us as a human being.  It is one of our main bridges in reaching the lost.  Our lives intersect at the point of pain.  When we surrender our pain, receive His grace, and walk in His power, it is noticed.  Personally, pain could cause us to rejoice and worship!

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2 responses

16 09 2009
Betty Simcox

Thank you for this encouragment.

29 05 2013
arianazuber

Loved this!!

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