There is a protective and productive purpose in pain. Read what the Bible says about pain.
Keeps us Alive
Not all pain is bad. Pain in exercise can tell us it’s time to quit or time to keep going (for some). At other times, pain tells us somethings wrong. When we begin to feel pain somewhere in the body, our bodies are sending us a signal that there is a problem and we had better get it checked out. Pain says, “I’ll keep nagging at you until you get this thing checked out” (whatever it is or was). Pain keeps us from burning our fingers on a hot stove or on the hot dashboard of a car. Physically speaking, pain might even save our lives, so there is definitely a protective, and thus, productive purpose in pain, but what about in the spiritual realm? Are there other things that pain can do to us and for us in a positive sense?
Keeps us Humble
I know of very few patients in the hospital who are really sick that are full of pride. When you’re flat on your back and have an uncertain future or a serious injury or disease, nobody feels like bragging or boasting (unless it would be in the Lord). When a family member, a close loved one, relative, or our best friend is in serious trouble, we are not going to feel like celebrating. We’re a lot more reserved, so when we see someone else or we ourselves are going through physical ailments or battling a serious disease, it can humble us or make us display a bit more humility than we normally would, and that’s always a good thing because God is opposed to the proud, and extends His grace only to the humble (James 4:6).
Allows us to Sympathize
The Apostle Paul writes that “the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who 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” (2nd Cor 1:3-4). In other words, God comforts us in all of our afflictions so that we might do the same for others “in any affliction,” and “any” means just about anything you can think of, so Paul says, “If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer” (2nd Cor 1:6).
Makes us Seek God
When people face the pain of divorce, financial catastrophe, or a serious illness, these things can bring us to our knees, so when we reach the end of our own strength, there is God waiting to pick us up and give us hope. I remember reading and hearing about people who were saved when they faced overwhelming circumstances. They were broken…and until a person is broken, God cannot fix them. They were emptied of themselves so this allowed God to fill them with His Spirit. If there is no other good that comes out our pain than a relationship with Jesus Christ, the pain has been infinitely worth it. There would be no way to put a price on something that brings us to repentance and faith. The tiny, miniscule amount of time on this earth is incomparable to the joy that’s coming for the children of God (Rom 8:18).
Makes us Rely on God
If we are at the end of ourselves, including in a relationship issue, a financial debt, or an illness that we can do nothing about, we can only rely on God, however, situations that make us rely on God are situations that bring us closer to Him and to a solution. When we resist God or avoid Him by our silence, we’re stiff-arming any help we can receive. If we’re not relying on God, we must be relying upon ourselves. Illnesses make us rely on medical care, but even when the medical care or treatment fails, our only hope is in God, but that’s the greatest hope we have. The Great Physician is not limited by time, space, or matter. He works in ways we cannot even see or understand, and it always brings glory to His name. If you rely on God, your reliance is in the right place…or should I say, in the Right Person.
The End of Pain
There is an end coming to all the pain, sorrow, suffering, and even death. The Apostle John says of God, “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away” (Rev 21:4), and what God wipes away, stays away. There might be tears of joy or tears of sorrow for those who aren’t there, but either way, the tears will finally dry up, and stay that way forever. Jesus gave us a good look at healing people’s pains while He ministered here on earth (Matt 4:25). For the moment, we must endure pain in this life, including the disciplining hand of God, which can be painful, but that too is beneficial because it’s done in love. God’s thundering, velvet hand helps us and keeps us from hurting ourselves. The author of Hebrews writes, “For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it” (Heb 12:11).
Speaking of a productive pain; read the account of the “suffering servant,” Jesus Christ, Who endured exceedingly great amounts of pain, and this was done for those who deserved it (Isaiah 53). You can save yourself some pain. Repent today and put your trust in Christ. Then, maybe you’ll realize that the productive purpose of pain includes the fact that it can keep us alive, it can keep us humble, it can help us sympathize and comfort others, it can make us rely on God, and most importantly, it can spur us on to seek God and be saved, and if it makes us rely on God, 100%, that’s all good. The good news is the end of pain is coming. As they say, someday it will be history, and no one I know will miss it.
Article by Jack Wellman
Jack Wellman is Pastor of the Mulvane Brethren Church in Mulvane Kansas. Jack is host of Spiritual Fitness and also the Senior Writer at What Christians Want To Know whose mission is to equip, encourage, and energize Christians and to address questions about the believer’s daily walk with God and the Bible. You can follow Jack on Google Plus or check out his book Teaching Children the Gospel available on Amazon.