Maybe you didn’t realize it, but there is actually a productive purpose in our pain.
When we get a physical pain, it’s usually our body trying to tell us something, primarily, something’s wrong. If not for our pain sensors, which we generally don’t like, we’d burn ourselves and get infections, we’d end up bleeding and not even know it, or even have a concussion, but with no headache, we’d get suffer a brain injury, because we’d keep doing what we’re doing. If there’s no pain, then that’s good, right? Not exactly. If God had not created within us a response to injurious things, which is what pain is, then we could possibly die, so pain has a protective purpose to it. The burst appendix can make us seek emergency treatment because it’s so painful, but that saves our lives. Pain is a warning sign that tells us, “You need to get help.” If not for our pain, we’d have no protection against injury, so pain has a protective, measurable purpose to it.
Like a warning light on the dashboard, or the Check Engine light, pain can act as a warning that something’s wrong, and it’s not always physical pain. Emotional pain can be just as bad as or worse than physical pain. Physical pain may go away in time if there’s physical healing, but if it’s an emotional scar that’s cut you to your heart, then that’s a lot harder to bring healing to, not to mention relief. It takes God Himself to comforts us in all of our afflictions (2nd Cor 1:4). It’s a good thing to want to know Christ more, so here’s a way that the Apostle Paul found helpful; suffering! That’s not what most people usually think about when they want to share in the things of Christ, but “as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too” (2nd Cor 1:5). Many want to share in the things of Christ, but most people don’t think about or seek after things like Paul, who was “always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies” (2nd Cor 4:10). If you’re going through emotional or mental pain and anguish right now, you’re not going there alone. Jesus knows what you feel because He has suffered abandonment, humiliation, been forsaken, accused and then tried and murdered, even though He was without sin. Let your deep pain bring your attention to the “Go to Jesus” light in your heart.
Seek After God
If pain makes you reach out in desperation to God, then that pain’s had a good purpose to it. There may be times when nothing no one but God can help. You’ve tried everything you can but you’re still in pain, either physically, mentally, or emotionally. You have nowhere else to turn to…you are out of options. You are at a dead end, the end of the rope, or come to an end of yourself. God says, “Finally, I was waiting here all the time.” God loves to mend broken hearts, wipe tears away, and comfort us in our pain. The psalmist says of God, “as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him” (Psalm 103:11), and “as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us” (Psalm103:12), which removes us from the pain of hell. It is just “As a father shows compassion to his children, so the LORD shows compassion to those who fear him” (Psalm 103:13), and “he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust” (Psalm103:14). If we flee to the psalms, I think we’ll flee to God. It shows us God’s heart for those who are crushed. If you’re crushed right now, and feel God is far away, the truth is, “The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit” (Psalm 34:18).
Share in His Sufferings
Do we share in Jesus’ sufferings? He has surely borne upon Himself every grief and sorrow we bear, as Isaiah writes, “he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities” (Isaiah 53:5), so don’t ever think that Jesus can’t sympathize with our pains, both physical and mental. Jesus has gone before us (2,000 years ago), and you know what, “we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin” (Heb 4:15). The author of Hebrews writes that some of the Hebrew Christians have “suffered along with those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions” (Heb 10:34), so let us be “fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Heb 12:2). They had their eyes on Jesus like Peter did when he walked on water, but when he took his eyes of Jesus, he started to sink. We must keep our eyes on Jesus or we too will sink. Don’t wait to start sinking, seek Jesus and fix your eyes upon Him.
It’s hard to imagine, but we ought to thank God for our pain. If there wasn’t pain, we’d suffer serious injury or death, but we’d also drift away from God and His speedy aid. We must realize that every Christian will suffer, but so does the world, and their state without Christ is hopeless, however Christians should recognize that their suffering and pain has a purpose to it, in fact, there’s a protective, purpose in pain.