“He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.” (Revelation 21:4 NLT)
Pain comes in many “packages” and is useful for many reasons, not the least of which is to enable us to see Jesus more clearly. When we or someone we love is injured, ill, or dies, the pain we feel is healthy and can be good, in the sense that it enables us to process their loss and/or ours. In his book, The Problem of Pain, C. S. Lewis writes: “We can ignore even pleasure. But pain insists upon being attended to. 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.”
You’ve likely heard the expression, “No Pain. No gain!” that’s used largely in the context of physical training when we’re pushing ourselves beyond the boundaries of our physical comfort to experience the pain of progress. But the metaphor can lose its value if we’re causing ourselves or someone else emotional or relational pain for the purpose of their or our “growth.”
For example, when we’re children it’s not unusual for our family or friends to say to us – “grow up!” – in the context of our childish behavior. And on some levels, while it may seem to encourage us in that direction, it can also seem cruel and devoid of empathy.
It’s the same principle when we “push” someone who isn’t feeling well to eat or exercise or ________. Our intentions may be good, but we sometimes overstep our bounds when we interject our desires onto them. I’ve battled depression most of my adult life and when I’m “down” and don’t even understand why myself, the last thing I need is someone who doesn’t know me or “thinks” they have a right to speak into my life to tell me, “Just get over yourself!” It’s not helpful.
I love it when my wife will just take me in her arms and ask me: “Honey, is there anything I can do for you?” And I can say to her: “Just hold me.” It’s as if I can draw strength from her love for me that gives me strength to push through my pain. That’s what I believe the Lord wants us to do for each other.
John Stonestreet wrote in a recent BreakPoint article: “Pain is never the point of God’s plans, any more than it is the purpose of physical exercise. Never pushing ourselves to the point that it hurts means never improving our health. On the other hand, seeking pain is more likely to do harm than to aid our well-being.” In some ways pain is the “reward” for the love we give to others. We’re not nearly as likely to be hurt by someone we don’t care about.
Stonestreet continues: “In and of itself, pain is not good, but it is meaningful. Pain indicates that something is wrong and needs to be addressed. Without pain, we’d never know. In the same way, breaking bad habits of the past requires pushing beyond our comfort levels, through the pain, and onward on the path to full restoration.”
We tend to believe that pain is never good, failing to realize it can be the catalyst for much needed change, not only physically, but spiritually. Until we feel the pain of remorse or regret for hurting God or others by our sinful words or actions, we may not find the path of healing and help we so desperately need.
The worst pain I can imagine is being in hell and having to live with the full knowledge that in this life on earth I was duped by the evil one to believe that God’s ways weren’t best. That I could have been forgiven and given new life, but I rejected them because I believed a lie from the depths of hell. That’s useless pain that has no point but torment and anguish of heart, mind, and soul.
Please, I’m begging you, if you find yourself continually pushing aside the things of God in favor of the “thrills” of sin, face the “pain” of transformation before it’s eternally too late. If you’re not walking with Jesus, but not sure what to do about it, click the link below and find out right now what it means to be forgiven and walking with Jesus in newness of life. https://hutchcraft.com/the-bridge-to-god