Purpose in the Pain: Is Pain Good?

You’ve heard the “triumph in tragedy” stories. Someone went through a very painful experience and was able to pull through as a better and stronger person. James tells us to consider it a great joy when undergoing various types of trials because we become stronger, more mature, well-rounded believers (James 1:2-5). Solomon tells us in Ecclesiastes 7:2-4, “It is better to go to the house of mourning than to go to the house of feasting, for this is the end of all mankind, and the living will lay it to heart. Sorrow is better than laughter, for by sadness of face the heart is made glad. The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning, but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth” (ESV).

The accurate biblical view

These passages seem to indicate that Scripture paints pain, trials, sorrow etc. as good things, but does the Bible really paint that picture for us? The answer of course is, “no”. Pain and suffering are results of the Fall in Genesis 3. If trials are good, why did they not exist before sin? Why do we not pray for them? Why do we not ask God to send them to us, our children, family, friends, or any of our loved ones? If pain, suffering, sorrow, trials, and tragedy are good, why will they not exist in heaven? “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away” (Revelation 21:4). The obvious implication is they are not good, but they can be good teachers.

Pain is a negative force that can bring about positive results, but the pain itself is not good. It is through pain that we have learned some very important lessons in life. It is through our pain that we are able to relate to each other and sympathize with one another. It is through pain that we learn love and compassion. It is through pain we realize we need God and each other.

When you experience trials, do you spend all your time cursing the pain and praying it will go away? Or do you ask God what you can learn from all of this? James tells us to consider it a great joy because of what it produces in us. Does that mean we have to walk around with manufactured smiles plastered on our faces when we are going through a great tragedy? Of course not. Jesus was known as a man of sorrows (Isaiah 53:3), not a man of smiles. He openly expressed his grief and sorrow, and made no attempt to hide them (Matthew 26:36-39, Mark 13:33-34, Luke 22:44). Yet we read in Hebrews 12:2, “…who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross…” Jesus found joy in the midst of suffering.

Changing your perspective

Considering the joy of the trial is a matter of perspective, not demeanor. Joy is having the right perspective on sorrow. Never allow the pain to make you bitter or angry. Don’t curse the pain. Don’t pray for pain’s end before asking about its purpose. My prayer is that you find purpose in your pain. I want to leave you with this short and thought-provoking poem:

“Along the Road”

I walked a mile with Pleasure,

She chattered all the way,

But left me none the wiser,

For all she had to say,

I walked a mile with Sorrow,

And ne’re a word said she,

But, oh, the things I learned from her,

When Sorrow walked with me.

By: Robert Browning Hamilton

God bless you in your journey of growth.

3 thoughts on “Purpose in the Pain: Is Pain Good?

  1. My husband diagnosed with 2 types of aggressive cancer a year ago. We have learnt so much from this walk through The Storm.: to take time to be, to enjoy the garden, countryside, the birds and wild animals, to see friends and family we haven’t seen for ages, to thank God for every new day and the adventure it brings, to pray for all the medical staff who go the extra mile with skill, kindness, compassion and laughter, to be encouraged by others going through this experience. It given our marriage a new dimension and the Lord has wrapped us in a warm blanket and carried us. In essence Cancer has given us a lot to be thankful for. We don’t take things for granted now – we Praise The Lord for every minute of every day and give him the glory not the Cancer.

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    1. What an incredible testimony. I bowed my head and prayed for you and your husband when I read your comment. I am so sorry to hear about your husband and know it must be so difficult, but I’m glad to hear that you have been able to find good in all the suffering. I will continue praying for you and your husband as you face this storm together. Though God can bring good from our suffering, I know it doesn’t always make it any easier. God bless you, and thanks for sharing.

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      1. Dear Jane and Peter you are a real testimony to His Joy despite pain and suffering and our prayers go with you through your journey trusting Him to assure you of His presence love and Peace that you are engraved on the pailms of His hands and Jesus is in Heaven ever living to make intercession for us Wow ! May you continue to know the Presence of Jesus and the Joy of the Lord sustaining and renewing you day by day bringing you words of Hope and Peace May the Lord continue to bless you and keep you Thank you for your sharing with us and allowing the church family to have a part in your journey at this time Hope you had fun at your Granddaughters 7 th birthday party My Grandparents were the best things since sliced bread 🍞,👍😀lots of love Rita Ps 29 v 5b

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