The Purpose of Pain

 
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As some of you probably heard by now, the last few months have been some of the most difficult times for me. I have always prided myself in being a person who has a high tolerance for pain. Weakness was not an option.

Even though theologically, I know that God delights in weaknesses and uses it to receive glory for Himself, it is something that I always have a hard accepting. Oh, how pride blinds us. But I have gained a greater perspective on the issue of pain, as I have struggled through my own “dark soul of the night.”

My journey as a Christ-follower has been accented with several major trials and struggles. They are in some ways like scars that remind me of my own humanity, frailty, and depravity. It also reminds me of my great need for a Savior and a Shepherd.

But this season of trials was definitely one of the hardest.

We all have our “breaking points” and God knows exactly where that point is for every single person. Due to my pride, self-sufficiency, and self-centeredness, God had to “pressed” down hard on me. Several nights ago, Christina and I were talking and we counted close to five specific areas of trials that compounded upon me all at once. God knew that just sending a few trials my way would not unnerve me; therefore He had to bring out the big guns and lay it pretty thick.

I am thankful that God has helped me through these times of trials. It is in these moments when you realized what the Gospel really means to you (“we are more sinful that we will ever know and more loved than we can ever imagine”). This is when your trust and faith in Christ thoroughly tested. This is when everything that you have held on to is stripped away and only Christ remains.

As I reflected on the past few months, these are some of the things that pain produces in us:

1) Pain rouses our attention
2) Pain reveals sin in our lives
3) Pain removes our complacency
4) Pain reminds us that we need God
5) Pain rescues us from pride
6) Pain rearranges our lives
7) Pain refocuses us on what is important
8) Pain renews our vision
9) Pain releases greater opportunities for ministry
10) Pain reinvigorates our love for God

 
 
I was reminded of this passage in Romans 8:26-28 when Paul said, “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will. And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
 
I also dug up some great quotes from C.S. Lewis in his book, “The Problem of Pain.”

• “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”

• “[Pain] removes the veil; it plants the flag of truth within the fortress of a rebel soul.”

• “Tribulations cannot cease until God either sees us remade or sees that our remaking is now hopeless.”

 
 
 
As I was reminded of God’s truth, the story of Renee Yohe came to mind. Even though her trial is different from mine, the principles are the same. But most importantly, the God who loves weaknesses and “works for the good of those who love him” is the same.

Check out her story