Seven purposes for pain

1. Pain captures our attention – “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pain: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world” (The Problem of Pain, C. S. Lewis).

2. Pain corrects our sense of independence – “it is good for us to be cured of the illusion of ‘independence’” (Collected Letters, Vol. III, C. S. Lewis).

3. Pain crushes our pride – “Man has to be knocked silly before he comes to his senses” (A Grief Observed, C. S. Lewis). (see: II Corinthians 12:7-10; #’s 2 & 3)

4. Pain creates opportunities for our sanctification – “the redemptive effect of suffering lies chiefly in its tendency to reduce the rebel will” (The Problem of Pain, C. S. Lewis).

5. Pain confirms our faith – “You never know how much you really believe anything until its truth or falsehood becomes a matter of life and death to you” (A Grief Observed, C. S. Lewis)

6. Pain equips us to comfort others – “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God” (II Corinthians 1:3-4).

7. Pain compels our longing for heaven – “…we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies” (Romans 8:23). “For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal” (II Corinthians 4:17-18). (First five adapted from here)

For further reflection 

  • “Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I obey your word…It was good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn your decrees.” (Psalm 119:67, 71)
  • “Suffering so unbolts the door of the heart that the Word has easier entrance.” (Richard Baxter)
  • “God frequently utilizes and blesses small acts of faithfulness in the context of deep misery to bring forth blessing we could not possibly have asked for but would have been happy to suffer for”  (D.A. Carson, How Long O Lord).
  • “The Bible does not give us a quick and easy answer to why God allows evil to continue in his world. But if we think back about how God involved himself in such a costly way in the ultimate defeat of sin and death (crucifixion), then whatever reason he may have, it is not that he is indifferent to the human race.”  (Seeing Through Cynicism, Dick Keyes).

Steve Cornell

This entry was posted in Pain, Suffering, Trials and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Seven purposes for pain

  1. Leo Galletta says:

    Hi Steve,
    Excellent points. Losing a brother and undergoing major surgery for the same the condition that took him, I was helped much by Paul Brand’s book, The Gift of Pain. God is so good and pain is an important part of His goodness to us.

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