As A Diamond Cannot Be Perfected Without Friction, Neither Can Character Be Perfected Without Pain
They returned to Lystra and to Iconium and to Antioch, strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying that through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God.” Acts 14:21-22
In a recent water cooler conversation the subject came up about pain and when it was all over three conclusions were reached: 1. Pain was part of the past, is part of the present and it certainly looks like it will continue into the future. 2. Everybody suffers pain; and 3. People don’t enjoy it and that is why it is called pain!
You know the list: there is physical, emotional and spiritual pain. Physical pain: from things like arthritis, exercise, and accidents. Emotional pain: from things like grief, depression, and anger. Mental pain: from things like guilt, broken relationships, and unable to change our past. Pains bring us into the world with a cry and leave it with a sigh.
But there is also a positive side to pain.
I’m sure we have all read or heard stories of people who are born without the capacity to feel pain. They actually grow up without knowing the things which were bad and dangerous for them. Without pain it’s easy to seriously cut yourself and not know it. Without pain you can put your hand in scalding water and not feel a thing. We do learn what is good for us and what is bad for us via pain. In this respect pain is a good thing and can be a friend.
Four Blessings from Pain:
First, It Often Brings Us to Repentance. Trials drive us to our knees instead of to despair. C. S. Lewis writes: “Pain is God’s megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” Christians testify that suffering is a small price to pay to get to know Jesus better.
Second, Pain Strengthens Our Faith. It can break us or build us. Perhaps that thing that pained you the most in life was the best thing that ever happened to you.
The Psalmist said, “It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I might learn your statutes. The law of your mouth is better to me than thousands of gold and silver pieces. Your hands have made and fashioned me; give me understanding that I may learn your commandments. Those who fear you shall see me and rejoice, because I have hoped in your word. I know, O Lord, that your rules are righteous, and that in faithfulness you have afflicted me.” Psalm 119:71 – 75.
God allows certain pains to come into our life because He is molding us and knows the end from the beginning. In the light of eternity our troubles will seem so small.
Third, Experienced Pain Increases The Effectiveness Of Our Witness. Like no one can speak to an alcoholic or someone in drug-rehab like someone who has been down in and came through that dark, lonesome valley. As 2 Corinthians 1:4 says, “…so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.”
Fourth, We Must Step Back and Grasp the Big Picture. Job saw more of God after his sufferings than in his sufferings. It’s hard to see things clearly when you’re sitting on an ash pile.
One of the most unforgettable characters I ever met was that great Romanian, Lutheran pastor Richard Wurmbrand who died in 2001. He was the “Iron Curtain St. Paul.” Fluent in nine different languages he constantly preached the gospel throughout Communist countries for which he was imprisoned for eighteen years. He was one of the most knowledgeable and forgiving preachers I ever met. He grew through suffering.
God never leaves us alone in our pain. He is with us always and making sure that our pain is constructive and not overwhelming. In this way He teaches us and gives us those blessings that can draw us closer to His heart.
“My Grace Is Sufficient For You.”