Purpose of Pain & Suffering

In these past two weeks I have gotten several calls and emails about dear friends that are in such extreme pain that they feel they will lose their sanity. After prayer the Lord gave me a few thoughts I'd like to pass on.

"Before I was afflicted I went astray." - David the Psalmist

In our culture bent on pleasure people fear pain. Pain today is not accepted, pain is inconvenient, has no purpose, and not beneficial. Pain is considered a thief that steals. Today pain is treated with "pain killers" which may help somewhat but do not numb the soul pain that accompanies physical pain. Drugs and anti-depressants do not address the deep pain of the soul - but compound it. Many people have discovered that pain that God allowed in their life - whether seen or unseen - has become their greatest asset in their spirituality.

Basically the purpose of pain is to prepare us to receive something radically beautiful from God. Extreme pain and suffering brings the soul to a boiling point so all the impurities embedded in the soul rise to the top. God then removes these impurities of fear, anger, bitterness, and unbelief so that our soul is free from these elements that harm the health of our soul. When we are in extreme pain, don't strive in your spirituality; we should become very quiet in our soul and not try to say a lot to God or people. We should be quiet before God and still. People generally do not understand other's pain and often give poor counsel or even may say hurtful things that are so far from the Mind of God. People who have not suffered themselves or avoid pain in His Plan, lack a depth in their lives and cannot effectively counsel others in pain. Because of the few that voluntarily permit God to lead them into suffering there are few that know how to counsel the hurting. In your pain just allow God to love you and quietly speak to you. While in deep pain, there is the temptation to think subjectively in a sense of accusation, isolation, dependency, & loneliness, but learn to allow the truth of Isaiah 63.9 bear you up: In all their affliction He was afflicted, and the Angel of His presence saved them; in His love and in His pity He redeemed them; and He lifted them up and carried them all the days of old. For those who allow God to lead them into the valley of the shadow of death must remember that it's just that, a shadow of death.

Many questions come to our mind in pain. These questions must be stilled before the Everlasting Wise God who loves us. All these questions will be answered in time. As He delivered those 3 Hebrews while in the furnace, so he delivers our soul while in pain and not from pain. What God shows you in pain may be something that is not easily communicated to others until they themselves are suffering. After the horrible pain has ended we sense a cleansing and we trust Him and know Him more and he heals us from the scars of the pain that may linger in the soul.

When we suffer we have such a greater capacity of empathy with the ability to counsel and encourage other's suffering and pain. Remember, if someone permits the Lord of Psalm 23 to take them by the hand and lead them into suffering - the pain will translate into an exclusive reward and joy in what Paul the apostle called "the fellowship of His sufferings". After the suffering you will have the same confession as Job in the last chapter of his book: 42.5 "I had heard of You [only] by the hearing of the ear, but now my [spiritual] eye sees You."