There is Purpose in our Pain

For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:10

At one time or another, most of us have experienced some form of pain beyond our limits: An eleven on a scale of ten. Whether emotional heartache, physical body pain, or a broken spirit piercing our soul, we all go through challenging times of pain. We wonder why, or if, this pain will ever end. It is natural to wonder why we are going through this difficult struggle and the pain it produces.

When the Apostle Paul had a thorn in his flesh, not an actual thorn, he asked the Lord to take it away so he could experience relief. God denied Paul’s request.

The Lord said to Paul, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my strength is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:8-9

Now, here I am trying to figure out Paul’s thorny situation, when only God knows the why and His greater purpose behind it. Perhaps the thorn was the way to keep Paul humble, and to keep him fully trusting and relying on God. Whatever His reason, there was purpose in the midst of Paul’s pain.

The Apostle Paul spoke about these small earthly sufferings and how they helped him to understand the purpose inside them. “For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever!” 2 Corinthians 4:17 So hold on, these temporal things will be replaced by a heavenly home, free of pain, suffering, and persecution.

The creation looks forward to the day when it will join God’s children in glorious freedom from death and decay. Romans 8:21

Think you should be exempt from suffering? Consider our Savior, Jesus, the Son of God. Living in a body much like your own, he experienced pain and suffering beyond even our comprehension. While we know he was beaten, disrespected, humiliated, and hung on a cross for no sin of his own, he also experienced hunger, disappointment, abandonment, and human exhaustion! Yes, he could have called a hundred thousand angels to rescue Him from all of the pain and agony of the cross, He chose to hang at the crossroads of our salvation, and take our sin as far away as the east is from the west.

The purpose of His pain was the punishment for our sins, THE atonement to a just God.

Christ suffered for our sins once for all time. He never sinned, but he died for sinners to bring you safely home to God. He suffered physical death, but he was raised to life in the spirit. 1 Peter 3:18

Our sufferings pale in comparison to the suffering of our Savior. He was born to die for us. And whether we have reconciled it yet or not, we were born to live for Him! Sometimes our suffering can affect our attitude, creating a cynical spirit, like watering the weeds within our soul. Recently, I went through a knee procedure to help with knee pain. The thing is, I wasn’t expecting more pain in the process. Not sure what I was expecting, but it wasn’t more pain!

Whether we want to believe it or not, within the healing process, we usually experience more pain.

Sometimes we learn things about ourselves during these traumatic events. On the day of the procedure, I discovered the calming and pain-relieving aspect of anesthesia, and the lack thereof. I suddenly remembered the painful experience of natural childbirth with one of my children, except there wasn’t a beautiful bouncing baby girl at end of the process. The aftermath of the procedure was a long ride home with pain at every bouncing bump in the road.

What we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later. Romans 8:18

The knee pain is still a thorn in my flesh, and an irritation for my husband’s last nerve. Complaining, and a lack of patience, are behaviors contrary to how God wants us to be. We should be demonstrating fruits of the spirit, and my fruits are stinking up the bag, ruining the other fruit! Thank goodness God forgives us for these transgressions, if we repent. In fact, God will help you with the pain, and heal your brokenness!

Now repent of your sins and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped away. Acts 3:19

So, whether rehabbing an injury or procedure, or reclaiming a lost relationship, there can be greater purpose in the pain when it creates a deeper dependency on God. The first step to healing is recognizing we need Jesus in our weakness and pain. My husband’s spirit was a mirror reflecting every moment of impatience, and every harsh word spoken from my pain. In my repentance, God showed my need to continue maturing, moving forward, toward that total dependency on Him.

But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Galatians 5:22-23

Lord, give us eyes to see past our pain.

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