Mar 082018 3 Responses

Is This the Reason for Your Pain?

Pain is a part of life. We enter the world in pain and often our main goal as we exit the world is to limit pain. All in between we experience circumstances which cause grief, sorrow, and discomfort.

The presence of pain in our lives causes many questions, but there are a few things we know for sure:

3 Types of Pain

While the presence of pain raises many questions, there are at least three types of pain we are certain to experience in our lives.

1. Fallen world. We are fallen people in a fallen world. Much of the pain we experience is a byproduct of that reality. It feels random. It can’t be tied to anything we have done. It’s just a part of life. People die, disease is experienced, conflict occurs, etc. The bad news is we have no control over this type of pain. The good news is that God can take even the worst of situations and bring good from them.

2. Discipline. Some pain is allowed for a specific purpose. Its goal is to transform our heart. To do this, God allows pain in order to reveal the brokenness in our lives or the sin present in our lives. The pain may not be directly linked to the specific area which God desires to transform. For example, he may allow suffering in order to reveal selfishness. The selfishness may not be directly related to the suffering, but might be revealed through the experience. The purpose of the pain is to lovingly discipline us into the people God desires us to be.

3. Pruning. Some pain is not designed to change our hearts, but is designed to direct our hearts. When a gardener prunes a plant, she may cut back a healthy branch. The branch may be healthy, but it may not be the direction in which the gardener has designed the plant to grow. Without pruning the plant, it might continue to expend resources and energy in growing in a direction which did not fit the overall vision for the garden. In order to assist the plant into its intended design, the gardener allows it to experience pain. The same is true for God with us.

The Unseen Purpose of Pain

It’s this third type of pain which is often most overlooked and misunderstood. We can understand God allowing pain because we have made bad choices. We can come to terms with the idea of some pain being random but God using that to accomplish his purposes. What we rarely consider is that sometimes God will allow pain even in areas of our strengths in order to direct us toward his intended design.

Anytime we experience pain, we should first investigate if it is discipline. Is there something in our lives that is out of line with God’s moral will? Do we need to repent? After considering our own sinfulness, the next way to consider pain is the possibility of pruning.

When we experience sorrow in areas which we believe to be our strengths and where the purpose of the pain can’t be foreseen, it’s possible that God is in the process of pruning us. If that is the case, we should embrace the suffering as an aspect of His divine direction. We should attempt to seek His understanding of why He is allowing the pain. Instead of fixating on the losses, we should consider what opportunities He is preparing us for. When dreams are dashed, plans are frustrated, and seasons change, it’s conceivable that God desires us to direct our energies and efforts into different areas. Sometimes the only way to get us where He wants us to be is to allow us to experience sorrow and suffering.

Want to understand more about pruning? Watch the video linked above.

3 Responses to Is This the Reason for Your Pain?

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