A room full of people is a room full of pain. If we each filed past the microphone, describing the various pains we carry, we’d be here for a few days. Grief over lost loved ones, hard circumstances due to either your sin or another’s sin against you, chronic illness, endless financial strain, multiple miscarriages, family estrangement, hurtful words of parents, fears about current events, battle fatigue from fighting temptations. Were we each to share, it’d be a train of pain, after sorrow, after heartache, after trial, after infirmity.
The response to this pain, by our society, is to medicate it. Pains and sorrows are to be treated therapeutically. If that fails, the dark alleyways of porn, drugs, or debauchery entice.
All this pain is the result of sin, but it isn’t the result of God’s absent-mindedness. Your pain, whether the result of your sin or others’ sins against you, is God’s kindness to you. Do you bear the consequence of your sin? This pain is like the smart of the discipline rod. Through that sting, God adjures you to mortify the sin that brought about that chastisement.
But other pains are harder to explain. Why did God allow that to happen? Why did God allow them to do thus and such to me? Where was He? The answer isn’t to try to get God off the hook. You were hurt by some tragedy, and either there is a point to it, and God alone knows the purpose for it, or else it is pointless. One approach to explaining pain renders it all pointless, and there’s no comfort there. The Bible’s explanation comforts us with the knowledge that all our pain has a point. Through pain, God awakens sinners to their plight. Through pain, God draws us to cling to Him alone. So, don’t numb the pain through sinful vice. Let God put His salve of sovereign purpose on all your wounds, and so be brought to praise Him for His tendnermercies.
We naturally shy away from pain. We opt for numbing it through narcotics, TV, Facebook scrolling, obsessive gym work-outs, overeating, under-eating, gender reassignment surgeries, abortions, godless therapy, or slothful slumber. But we must learn to not look away from the truth. God is the Author of our pain. He ordains the dark clouds of our various trials. He ordains the chastisement we face for our sin. He ordains the trials we each face. The pain isn’t because He’s asleep at the wheel. Rather, pain is His means of awakening us to how things are not as they ought to be, and only by Him, only by His Son, only by the Holy Spirit is this world being restored. He drove our parents out of Eden, and ever since, His flaming sword has directed us to Mt. Zion, the City of our God, whose foundations cannot be shaken. We must stop fleeing the lessons hidden in our pain by seeking out all manner of pain-killers. May God grant eyes to see through the pain, and see His smiling face of kindness to us through Christ.