If you are a reader or have read C.S. Lewis you might recognize the title of this article. He wrote an excellent book called “The Problem of Pain.” The title was not, I believe speaking to pain as a problem but more like a math problem as in 2+2=4. As Lewis dealt masterfully with this subject of pail he hypothesized that “Pain is God’s Megaphone to a Sleeping World.” and so it is. When one is in pain or a loved one is in pain what do we due? We pray.
There are many many types of pain in this world that lies in wickedness. There is the physical, the emotional, the mental, the broken homes, the broken hearts. There is loneliness, anger, sense of worthlessness etc. etc. etc.etc.etc. and so on. It would be difficult to rate these in order of most painful. However I would say that the emotional pain is up there. In 2 Corinthians 11 Paul lists all the time he suffered pain at the hands of man and the list is long and most brutal. After he finishes the list he adds that on top of all the pain he suffers currently due to his beatings he has the weight of the Christ-ian church on his shoulders!
So, let us study the topic of pain…the why of pain.
Many a preacher would say that pain is due to one’s sinful life style. That is not where we will begin.
One reason for pain is to move us to pray. Since we all have experienced pain we are able to pray for each other with empathy and as we said to a dear brother and sister recently sympathy and empathy may sound similar but the are very different. Sympathy says, “I am not familiar with tour lot but I feel bad and will pray best I am able.” Empathy says, “I will pray fervently for you for I am familiar with your lot and your pain.” Pain can cause us to think of persons we might not think of often, this is to our shame for the pain of a loved one may not be for the one in pain but for all those that fail to think of him or her on a regular basis.
Another reason I have found early in my walk with Him is this…one does not pray the prayer of thanks for the healthy and pain free time one is experiencing currently. Therefore God reminds one with pain. One is then moved to acknowledge one’s failure to give thanks when all was well. However, to be faithful in giving of thanks does not eliminate future pain for pain, in God’s Hands have many uses.
Pain can serve as a means of humility. It moves us to seek help from the world, it moves us to seek the prayers of fellow believers, it may put us in a bed for a period, it may even cause us to miss opportunities to serve God and people, though it cannot keep us from prayer and fellowship from the Greatest of Physicians that understands our pain.
I said we will not begin with one’s sin as a cause but we will speak of sin, in the abstract as a cause of sin.What I mean by that is we will not yet speak of personal sin but the birth of sin and it’s lasting effect upon the whole realm of creation. In Genesis we know that after God created the heaven and the earth and after God created man in His Image and created woman from the rib of man both man and women enjoyed fellowship with their Creator God. We know further that (s)atan entered the picture and tempted the woman to sin against God and then moved her husband to do likewise. “And by one man sin entered into the world.” All of creation fell at that moment plunging man and the earth into pain and death. Animal began to eat animal, thistle weed began to grow, the woman’s body was changes to feel pain during the menstrual cycle, through the loss of virginity and during child bearing and birth, natural disasters were made possible, and the Image of God wherein man was created was marred greatly. In fact any negative effects that we may feel in spirit, soul, or body is due to original sin.
And now…pain maybe due to our personal sin. I like to think that pain is not God’s first choice when dealing with His children but the choice, as always is His. God may rather speak to us through His Word, He may speak to us through His Spirit, he may speak to us through a sermon or another believer. If we are foolish enough to ignore all these warnings God may then move to pain and again pain can take many, many forms. King Saul was greatly vexed by an evil spirit, David felt the pain of the loss of a baby boy, Moses was kept from the Promised Land after (40) forty years of faithful service and because of one grievous sin. Korah and his family killed, Miriam was struck with Leprosy for questioning Moses authority, Ananias and Saphira were killed for lying to the Holy Ghost, King Herod was killed for accepting a comparison between himself and God.
Some feel pain in order for God to be glorified in the sight of the people. One case has a man blind from birth. The blind man was now (39) thirty-nine years old. Christ was asked by his disciples, “Who did sin this man or his parents?” Christ answer was that this man’s blindness IS NOT due to sin. This man was born blind and suffered many years and the effects of blindness so that at God”s appointed, ordained time he would be healed! In other words this man suffered and endured blindness for thirty-nine years for the sole purpose of being healed in this extraordinary manner…at the Hand’s of the God Man! And so it is today. Some suffer pain so that God will be glorified in the healing. Scripture states that God hurts that He may heal.
What should one do while suffering in pain? 1. One should pray without ceasing as this should be our practice when enjoying health as well as pain…be instant in prayer…practice the Presence of God. 2. Focus on God, His ways, His Word(s), and His works. 3. Be careful not to think your pain is worse than others. 4. Think of others that are currently in pain and pray for them. 5. Think of those not in pain and pray a prayer of thanks on their behalf. 6.Thank God that your pain is not worse than it is. 7. Thank God for those praying for you and thinking of you and be humbled for all the expressions of faith toward God and love toward you. 8. If you sense that your pain is due to your personal sin…repent and humble yourself under the Mighty Hand of God and remember that God chastens only those He loves 9.Thank God that you have been saved from the eternal effects of original sin. 10. Rest and sleep while awaiting your healing. 11. Dwell upon the sufferings of Christ as He is familiar with all human suffering (Isaiah 53; Hebrews 4:15). He is familiar with the emotional pain as well for He was “a man or sorrows.” 12. Think about the pain He endured on the Cross at Calvary and that He endured it for thee. 13. And always remember, “God Knows”. Those are two words that are full of hope. 14. Ask God what you should learn from this pain. 15. Remember that this too shall work toward your good.
We trust that is article if help to those that are enduring pain currently and those that are currently enjoying pain free health.
To God be all the Glory and all the Praise.