No one likes pain—of any kind, whether it’s physical, emotional, relational, or spiritual. But since pain in this world is inevitable (Jn 16:33), we need to learn how to handle it. And guess what. I have discovered 3 wonderful things about pain:
1. Pain doesn’t have to be wasted.
2. Pain can be minimized.
3. There can be joy despite the presence of pain.
In order for these to be realized in your life you need to know a few things.
Pain is a result of living in a fallen sinful world
Whether your difficulty is caused by negative circumstances, conflict with others, or inner struggles, all stem from sin—your own or others.
Pain has a Good Purpose and is Necessary
Did you know that if you cut the cocoon of an emerging butterfly to help it get out of its confinement, that it would not be able to fly? Without the struggle blood would not course into the wings. The result: wings distorted in function and beauty. In the same way, God allows us to struggle so we can become useful and beautiful like His Son.
God allows or even brings pain into our lives for a good reason. God is good and can only do good (Ps 119:68, Rom 8:28-29).
What does this good look like?
Here are just some of the good things that can come out of your pain:
- Leads you to greater intimacy with God
- Causes you to seek answers; to think, re-evaluate, and correct the error of any wrong thinking or actions
- Shows your desperate need of God
- Gives you the opportunity to experience something about His character in a new or deeper way. For example, how can you truly know that God “is close to the brokenhearted” unless your heart has been broken (Ps 34:18)?
- Teaches you some key lesson
- Helps you appreciate life more
- Equips you to help others in their hardship (2 Cor 1:4-7)
- Produces great rewards
- Provides an opportunity to bring God more glory
There are many other possible benefits that can result from life’s difficulties. But they are not automatic!
No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. (Heb 12:11, emphasis added)
If we want a harvest, we need to cooperate with God and let Him train us.
We must yield to God so He can yield a bountiful harvest of lasting fruit through us.
We don’t have to waste the pain!
When cancer first entered my husband’s life, the Lord taught me this freeing and sustaining truth. It helped me from falling into a pit of despair. When you know something good will come out of your suffering, it is much easier to bear.
But just like fruit, it’ll take time to see that good harvest. Paraphrasing biblical commentator, Barnes:
We do not expect fruit to form and ripen all at once. It may take a long time to mature, but it will be rich and mellow when it’s ripe. Like fruit it frequently requires a long time before all the results of our affliction are apparent. Like fruit it may at first be sour and unpalatable; but it will be at last like the ruddy peach or the golden orange.
Those fruits of “righteousness” will…
- Make us more holy, more dead to sin and the world, and more alive to God.
- Produce peace, calmness, and submission in our soul; a quiet trust and confidence in God1
So my friends, don’t waste the pain you are undergoing. Let God use it for your benefit and for His glory. Trust me—trust Him—it’ll be worth it!
Next time we’ll cover how you can minimize that pain!
Scripture taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.