“No pain, no palm; no thorns, no throne; no gall, no glory;
no cross, no crown.—-William Penn
No Pain – No Gain
It only requires a visit to the local pharmacy to remind us that we live in a pain conscious society. Display shelves are filled with a wide variety of products that promise to relieve or reduce the pains in our body from our head to our feet. Prescription drugs for alleviating pain has now become a multi-billion dollar industry and still growing.
Pain is included with the package of Life
Our human nature automatically shies away from physical stress, mental anguish and emotional conflict brought on by pain. We would like to be isolated and insulated from it all, but that isn’t the way life works. Experiencing physical, mental and emotional pain has become a part of everyday life. As a matter of fact, it is part of the normal human experience around the world. No one is exempted. It’s a part of being human, and as long as we’re in this earthy body, each of us will have to deal with the problem of pain coming into our life. Pain comes included with the package of life.
When we bump our heads, cut ourselves, sprain our ankle, or suffer some other kind of injury of this nature, we experience a pain that is of a short duration. We don’t get overly concerned with this kind of pain because we know it will eventually go away with time. But sometimes we encounter pain that we don’t know its source. It can be physical or emotional pain. With this kind of pain, we do get concerned. When pain of this type comes into our life, there are two things important for us to understand about it that will help us in dealing with it.
Sometimes the Source of Pain is Unknown
(a) Pain comes as a warning signal telling us that something is definitely wrong in our life. It’s a symptom alerting us to what could be a serious problem. It’s calling our attention to it so we can take measures to do something about it.
(b) When pain comes, oft times God will use it as a means to work his purposes into our life. Sometimes, God takes something that is bad (such as pain) and turns it around and uses it for our good.
Here are four ways that God uses our pain to work good into our life.
The Pain of Hunger goaded the Prodigal to home
1. God uses pain to goad us. (to goad) – to motivate; to spur into action.
Pain will spur us into action quicker than anything else will. Making a dental appointment is a good example of this. Many people have a fear of going to the dentist so they put off going as long as they can. But when their toothache pain gets greater than their fear, then they move into action and go to the dentist.
|Proverbs 20: 30, (GNV) “Sometimes it takes a painful experience to make us change.”|
Pain will force us to make changes, even when we don’t want to change. Pain brings us to the place where we’re ready to change. The prodigal son of Luke 15: 14 -18 (GN) is an example of this. The prodigal son had “spent everything he had….and was hungry….at last he came to his senses and said…”I’ll get up and go to my father…” The pains of hunger finally goaded him into action. God works even in our pains to stir us up, to motivate us to make the necessary changes in our life. The truth is, we’d rarely make changes if we didn’t have any pain in our life.
(2) God uses our pain to guide us.
A bit is used in a horses mouth to turn them. God takes our (bit) of pain and uses it to turn us in different directions.
Psalms 119:71-72 (LB), says,“…It was the best thing that could have happened to me, for it taught me to pay attention to your laws.”
God whispers to us in our Pleasure, but He shouts to Us In Our Pain
A bit in the mouth of a horse is used to get their attention. Pain coming into our life is used of God to get our attention. Someone has said, “God whispers to us in our pleasure, but he shouts to us in our pain.” He is saying, “I want your attention.” It doesn’t always take a lot of pain to get our attention. Just as a little rudder can turn a big ship–sometimes just a little pain in our life can lead us into a new direction.
Do you remember the story of Joseph in the Bible? The first chapters of his life are one painful experience after another. Everything that could go wrong did go wrong. He’s ignored, rejected and sold into slavery by his brothers. He’s falsely accused, thrown into prison and almost forgotten there. But if you read the end of his story, you realize that God was working in all of these painful experiences to prepare Joseph to fulfill God’s plan for his life. Joseph ends up being second in command in Egypt, saving not only Egypt, but Israel also.
All along in Joseph’s life, God was goading and guiding him for greatness. This greatness didn’t come without pain. If Joseph had never gone to the pit, he would never have come to the palace.
(3) God uses our pain to gauge us.
Pain is one of the measuring tools God uses to help us see what we’re like on the inside. It’s been said that people are like tea bags; you don’t know what’s in them until you drop them in hot water. We don’t really know what’s inside of us until we’re faced the test of pain.
The bible often compares pain to a refining fire. Fire is used to refine gold and silver. As the gold and silver are heated, they begin to melt and all the impurities rise to the surface where they can be scooped off. God uses the pain that comes into our life to bring out the impurities that perhaps we weren’t aware was there. Isaiah 48: 10 (NIV), “I have tested you in the furnace of affliction.” Pain is sometimes a test. It exposes the real us. It reveals what we are on the inside. Do you know why this is so? It’s because it’s impossible to maintain an image when you’re in pain. James 1: 2-3, (The Message) “…tests and challenges come at you from all sides (and) you know that under pressure your faith life is forces into the open and shows its true colors.” Testing reveals what we’re like on the inside so we can do something about it. Deuteronomy 8:2 NLT) “Remember how the Lord your God led you through the wilderness for forty years, humbling you and testing you to prove your character and to find out whether or not you would really obey his commandments.”
(4) God uses our pain to grow us.
It’s possible for us to grow spiritually and emotionally when everything is going great and life is fantastic, but – it’s a fact that we grow far deeper and greater, not on the mountaintop but in the valley in the face of stress and pressure coming into our life. Someone has said, “Pain is the high cost of growth.”
James 1:4 LB, “For when the way is rough, your patience has a chance to grow. So let it grow and don’t try to squirm out of your problems….then you will be ready for anything, strong in character, full and complete.”
Apostle Paul says it like this in I Corinthians 1:9 (Phillips), as he was talking about pain he had experienced. “This happened…so we might learn to trust, not in ourselves, but in God.” You see, we really don’t know that Jesus Christ is all we need until Jesus Christ is all we’ve got.
If you are experiencing hurt and pain in your life today, ask yourself these questions.
- Father, are you using this to goad me , to motivate me into action, to start doing something I ought to be doing?
- Father, are you using this to guide me, to point me in a new direction?
- Father, are you using this to gauge me, to help me to measure myself and see what I’m really like on the inside and to let me know where I need to make changes?
- Father, are you using this to grow me, to bring maturity and commitment into my life, so that I reflect the character of Jesus Christ?
God’s answer to all these questions will be a resounding, yes. God has dedicated himself to work for the good of the believer in everything life brings, (and that includes pain.)
|“But we know that for those who love him, for those called in agreement with his purpose, God makes all things work together for good.” Romans 8:28|