Your response to pain is directly related to how you identify your relationship to God.
We have two options for a spiritual father - God or the devil. You may think you are governing yourself, but if you reject God as your Father, you are left to the influence of the devil -- evil, pride, gossip, selfishness, etc. The spiritual father with whom you identify, guides your respond to pain.
You may think you are governing yourself, but if you reject God as your Father, you are left to the influence of the devil.
All of us have hard times, but how do you respond when they come your way? Do you complain to others? Claim that you don’t deserve your situation? Think you are better than others? Make hardships more burdensome with a gloom-and-doom attitude? In reality, sometimes painful let-downs can actually lead to better things or protect us from further trauma down the road, but we must be willing to see things from God’s perspective in order not to miss what He is doing!
When Jesus was preparing for His torture and death, He was under extreme stress and anguish. He asked God if there was any other way to take away the sin of the world because He did not want to suffer, yet He willingly walked into pain on behalf of others because it was necessary to provide the gift of forgiveness and salvation.
Jesus’ model is our ideal. As children of God, we need to glorify Him in the midst of our sorrows and trials, become conquerors, look for ministry opportunities to help and serve others, and embrace the peace and confidence of our God who promises never to leave or forsake us. Beyond that, Jesus’ example to us shows us to voluntarily take on the burden on behalf of someone else as God calls us. If we are only living for ourselves, then our goal is too small!
As children of God, our response to pain - no matter what it is - needs to glorify God.
But let none of you suffer as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, or as a busybody in other people’s matters. Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter. 1 Peter 4:15-16
What I think, say, and feel, should make God look good. If as His child, I am not honoring Him, I need to pray that I can take those negative thoughts captive and have a change of heart.
1. As God’s children, pain produces righteousness. Hebrews 12:11
Over time, God wants to make us more like Him. Questioning the source or the reason for our pain is rarely helpful. Better questions to bring to God in the midst of trial are:
“What can I learn from this situation?”
“How can I bring You glory?”
“How do you want me to grow?”
Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. Hebrews 12:11
Does your life change when you are experiencing trials? Do you read your Bible more, pray more, seek more fellowship? We pray for God to take our trials away, but often they are the things that bring us the most intimacy with Him.
2. As God’s beloved, pain brings the Spirit of glory. 1 Peter 4:12-14
In our suffering, the Holy Spirit inspires us, empowers us, and directs us to glorify God. When we follow His lead, others will be able to see the peace of God and the joy of the Lord all over our faces, even in the midst of our pain.
Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy. If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. On their part He is blasphemed, but on your part He is glorified. 1 Peter 4:12-14
3. As saints, pain produces ministry opportunities. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4
In the midst of your own pain, look around and see how you can minister to others in pain. If you allow Him to, God can use the healing He brings to you over and over to bless and heal others.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4
Your Heavenly Father is the God of comfort, not of punishment. He comforts us not just to make us feel good, but so that we can bring someone else His comfort and draw him/her closer to the Father. When we get our eyes off of ourselves, we can see someone else who may benefit from what we are learning.
4. As conquerors, pain reassures your safety in the hands of God. Romans 8:35-39
The devil wants you to believe that every instance of pain and suffering is “the end.” But God reminds us that He has always been faithful and He will be faithful again and again. So then every trial is a reminder that nothing can snatch you from the hand of God because He is always there to get you through it. If you have Christ, then you are a conqueror - you have a guaranteed win over death.
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written:
“For Your sake we are killed all day long;
We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.”
Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:35-39
If you don’t know Christ yet, don’t waste this opportunity to invite Him in. Ask Him to reveal Himself to you and draw you close!