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The Benefits of Pain
6 Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations:
7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:
Is Pain Meaningful?
The relevance of pain is one of the more challenging subjects for the Christian. It is difficult to understand why good people suffer and we often do not understand how pain can be useful or beneficial to the born-again Christian. After all, didn't Christ suffer for us? Most will eventually experience significant pain of one kind or another and we need a scriptural perspective of pain that we might be patient in the day of adversity.
We Are Designed To Feel Pain
Pain is not incidental or accidental to our existence.. The Lord has designed us to feel pain. He could have shielded us from all pain but He chose to created us with pain receptors that enable us to feel pain in virtually every part of our body. Not only is our entire being subject to pain but pain itself is differentiated as superficial, deep, sharp, dull, hot, cold, tearing, ripping, crushing, breaking, etc..
Some must experience a "ripping", or a "tearing" of their life before they will completely turn to God. The human heart is so resistance, that in some cases, only the most severe pain will turn our eyes to God.
God also allows some to experience inward pain as they are particularly sensitive to emotional/spiritual pain. Our pain sensitive nature is by God's design and is an evidence of the great wisdom of God to use such an effective tool in getting our attention; pain is a scalpel in the hand of the Great Physician who not only corrects but brings healing to an otherwise terminal patient; we cannot overlook the spiritual benefits of whatever pain the Lord allows us to experience.
God, who is the Life-giver, will even use devils to accomplish His life giving purposes. Paul, in 1Cor 5:4-5 tells the Church to turn a man over to the Devil for the destruction of the flesh. The idea being the pain inflicted would bring the man to his senses. We don't know what difficulties the man experienced but what ever it was, it proved to be supremely effective, for the man repented and was brought back into fellowship, 2Cor 2:6-8. It is true our road is a narrow road, and that with much tribulation do we enter the Kingdom of God.
God Causes All Things To Work For Our Good
We learn from Job, that God Himself has the final word about our pain and He oversees our pain. Satan was limited in what he could do to Job. God's ways are perfect and wise and according to His Word pain works for our good, Rom 8:28. Much of our pain is the result of our own poor choices. However, there is pain that is not our fault, it seems to come for no apparent reason. According to Scripture, there is pain that comes to the life of EVERY Christian by the will of God. All Christians undergo pruning and chastening; pruning that we might bring forth more fruit, and chastening, that we might be partakers of His holiness. And ALL Christians, if following Jesus, will partake of His sufferings.
Rom 8:16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: 17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.
Pain is best understood in the context of:
- the sufferings of Christ
First, pain can be beneficial.It is not that pain in itself is beneficial or pleasant, but in God's hand, pain can get our attention like nothing else. Because of the hardness of our heart we can and do ignore God. We ignore His Word, we ignore the Holy Spirit, we ignore our conscience, we ignore the advice of others, we ignore His preachers, and we ignore His inward promptings. Without pain, we have the potential to ignore Him for a lifetime. But, because of our nature, we will not ignore pain. That's right, pain has a way of getting our undivided attention and we find ourselves suddenly wanting to hear what God says.
It is truly amazing how pain softens the heart, opens the ears and shuts the mouth. Funny the way that works. We may not be consciously ignoring God, but often we are completely unaware of the condition of our own heart. Pain has a way of slowing our life enough that we can get an accurate look at our inward problems. Pain resets our priorities by clearing our minds of superficial concerns. Real suffering causes us to be acutely aware of the eternal. Pain causes us to take time for the things which we previously had no time.
Pain Was Beneficial To David
Psa 169:67 Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now have I kept thy word
Psa 119:71 It is good for me that I have been afflicted that I might learn thy statutes
Psa 119:75 I know, O LORD, that thy judgements are right, and that thou in faithfulness hast afflicted me.
Chastening Causes Us to be Partakers of His holiness.
Hebrews 12:9-10 (KJV) 9 Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? 10 For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness
Hebrews 12:14 (KJV) 14 Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:
We are instructed to not despise the chastening of the Lord. To chasten means to train or discipline. We are to respect the ways of God for they prevent our destruction and prepare us for heaven. God knows the agony of hell, and as a loving Father, through training and discipline, He leads His children to eternal life. We do not always understand His ways, but we understand that He is good, and even in the presence of incredible pain, His purposes are being worked in us and for us.
Man Does Not Live By Bread Alone
Historically, God's people struggle with His ways of teaching them. Why would God allow this in my life, is a question many have asked. Remember Old testament Israel, they were given manna for food, bitter water to drink, giants to overcome, and much more, but God was leading His people and teaching them that their lives were not about bread and water, but about God, that He was the Life Giver, and that men could live only by His Word. Listen to the Scripture.
Deuteronomy 8:2-3 (KJV) 2 And thou shalt remember all the way which the LORD thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments, or no. 3 And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live
Every Christian Is Chastened of the Lord
Hebrews 12:5-6 (KJV) 5 And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: 6 For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth
Obviously, we all want to avoid any discomfort. It's part of our nature to seek what we see as beneficial and pain free. When we find ourselves in the midst of serious pain, it's terribly difficult to understanding what beneficial effects there could be. That's why we need to hear the Scripture, and prepare ourselves to trust God. Reality is, pain is coming, it comes to all, and in God's hand, is useful for His eternal purposes. Listen to Peter.
1 Peter 4:12-19 (KJV) 12 Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: 13 But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. 14 If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified. 15 But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men’s matters. 16 Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf. 17 For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? 18 And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear? 19 Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator
Summary of the The beneficial Effects of Pain
- Chastening=works toward our holiness. Hebrews 12:2-10
- Pruning=Works toward our fruitfulness. John 15:2
- Sufferings of Christ=enables us to encourage others in their suffering. 2Cor 1:3-6