The Gift of Pain

“For examples of patience in suffering, dear brothers and sisters, look at the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. We give great honor to those who endure under suffering. For instance, you know about Job, a man of great endurance. You can see how the Lord was kind to him at the end, for the Lord is full of tenderness and mercy.”

James 5:10-11


I read this quote yesterday on Instagram that both caught my attention and got me thinking. It said, “Your deepest need becomes a gift when it moves you to greater dependence on Jesus.” Have you ever considered your greatest need as a gift? How about pain being a gift? It’s not uncommon for people to exchange gifts, especially at Christmas. This year my wife and I chose not to exchange personal gifts and instead allow the remodeling our kitchen be our gift to one another. If my memory serves me right I think I still took my wife to her favorite clothing store and found her a few things that she would enjoy.

The Bible teaches us that God gives gifts to His children and not just as Christmas time. First and foremost our salvation is a gift, Ephesians 2:8 reminds us, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God.” Every Christian has be endowed with spiritual gifts when we were Born Again that when exercised work to build up the body of Christ in love. Ephesians 4:7-8, “However, he has given each one of us a special gift through the generosity of Christ. That is why the Scriptures say, “When he ascended to the heights, he led a crowd of captives and gave gifts to his people.” And later in the same chapter in verse 16 it says, “He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.” 

Are you aware that pain is also a gift from God? It is, as without our ability to feel pain we would eventually destroy ourselves from the lack of feeling. Touch a hot stove and the pain causes you to pull your hand back. Step on a piece of glass or a nail and immediately you recoil in pain. Like it or not, pain is a gift that no one wants. Trust me, I know. This past Christmas I went to get out of bed one morning and couldn’t put any weight on my left foot as the pain was excruciating. In going to the doctor I discovered I had a very severe infection in my foot. Thank God for the pain as it caused me to call my doctor in the first place and then receive the immediate care needed to bring healing. At first, the timing of my infection was frustrating as I spent Christmas and a couple of weeks afterwards lying in bed. All I could do was lay there and look up. I found myself praying more and thinking about the things of God so much I without consciously thinking about started thanking God for the pain as it caused me to stop from what I was doing and seek Him.
 
No two people hurt alike. Dr Paul Brand put it this way, "Pain has no 'outside' existence. Two people can look at the same tree; no one has ever shared a stomachache. This is what makes the treatment of pain so difficult. None of us – doctor, parent, or friend – can truly enter into another person's pain. It is the loneliest, most private sensation." And yet, though pain is private and most definitely can make you feel alone, we are never alone. If anyone understands our pain it is Jesus Christ who has suffered physical and emotional and spiritual pain beyond our ability to comprehend and who has promised us that in the midst of our pain He would be there for us, that He would never leave us alone.

The apostle Paul tells of how after receiving a revelation of heaven to keep him from boasting God did something interesting, God allowed the apostle Paul to experience pain to get his attention and he gives us his testimony in 2 Corinthians 12: 7-10, “even though I have received such wonderful revelations from God. So to keep me from becoming proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from becoming proud. Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

The apostle Paul saw the value in his pain and my prayer for you today loved one is that you see the value in yours. God never wastes a hurt and anything that happens in your life and in mine that causes us to look to God and become more dependent upon Him could never be considered a bad thing. No, its just the opposite, it’s a gift, even if it’s painful. “He jests at scars who never felt a wound” Shakespeare wrote in Romeo and Juliet. "Pain is not the enemy, but the loyal scout announcing the enemy…Pain truly is the gift nobody wants." Dr. Paul Brand. "Offer your pains to God. Pray for the strength to endure. Above all, develop a habit of conversing often with God. Adore Him in your infirmities. At the very height of your suffering, ask Him humbly and affectionately (as a child to a good parent) to help you accept His will,” Brother Lawrence.


“And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away."

Revelation 21:4


I LOVE YOU!

Michael Osthimer

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