“Distress that drives us to God does that. It turns us around. It gets us back in the way of salvation. We never regret that kind of pain. But those who let distress drive them away from God are full of regrets, end up on a deathbed of regrets.” 2 Corinthians 7:10 (MSG)
The Purpose of Pain
What kind of a nurse would I be if I didn’t write about the attention-getting device of pain? So, for the last days of this month; let’s look at the greatest attention-getter—pain.
Before we get to the spiritual part of this post, let’s consider physical pain. Pain is something everyone tries to avoid. Companies make millions of dollars selling items and potions to help one avoid or relieve pain. I have all sorts of pads, pills, ointments, lozenges, and bandages to alleviate my pain.
The best pain is avoided pain—I have things to take care of that as well. In fact, I will go out of my way to avoid pain. How about you?
As bad as pain is and as much as we try to avoid it, pain does serve a purpose. Pain indicates something is wrong. That aching joint or muscle, the twinge in your belly, the throb in your head—all those attention-getters are letting you know something is overused, being used improperly or malfunctioning.
People who lack the ability to perceive pain must live a life of heightened diligence. Pain causes you to stop doing harmful things. Without that sensation; you over tax your body, you don’t recoil from dangerous situations, wounds become infected and simple tasks become life threatening.
Pain whispers or shouts, depending on the intensity, “Notice me! Something is wrong! Stop what you’re doing! Do something different!” Pain is the attention-getter that should drive you to seek a remedy.
Pain that doesn’t drive you to a remedy, is only painful and miserable. Never forget that truth.
Paul writes about that in his letter to the new Christians in Corinth.
I will not tell you God causes pain in an effort to get your attention. Not now, anyway—there is a day of punishment God warns of—but now God draws fallen humanity to Him with kindness. I will tell you, God is sovereign and can use whatever method He chooses to work in the lives of the people He created. When it comes to pain, I will tell you what I’ve experienced.
God didn’t have to inflict pain on me to get my attention—I did a fine job of that on my own.
Sin carries painful consequences, not the least of which is separation from the loving Father who created you. If you search scripture, you’ll find many instances of individuals and groups suffering pain. I don’t think you’ll find an instance where God caused the pain directly. Humanity suffers spiritual pain as the consequence of disobedience.
The pain caused by the broken relationship between God and humanity—also known as sin—is what should turn the heat back to God.
The Remedy for Pain
If you have some spiritual pain, a gnawing, emptiness, uneasiness, guilt—call it what you will—that awareness is trying to get your attention and turn your heart to a God who holds the remedy for your pain.
When pain drives you to a remedy—pain is useful and beneficial. You don’t regret taking an aspirin when your headache is gone. You won’t regret coming to Your loving Father for forgiveness once the burden of sin is gone.
Father, thank You for the promise of forgiveness and relief when I come to You in repentance. I will let my pain drive me to You and the remedy You provided by the sacrifice of Your Son, Jesus. Forgive me, heal my sin-sick soul.