Suffering and pain are a part of life. We know it because we have all felt it to one degree or another–emotionally and physically. The temptation, when we do have pain, is to think that God does not really care. If God cared, wouldn’t He end the suffering for us and make us feel more comfortable in life? One of the worst thoughts that anyone can have is to think, “God does not love me.” And the proof, we may think, is that we have pain. If this were true, of course, then God would love no one since all have pain. Still, we need to understand there is a solid proof of the fact that God does love us beyond all measure. And this proof is found in Jesus Christ.
Recall what the apostle wrote to the Romans: “He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?” (Rom. 8:32). Then Paul asked, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?” (vs. 35). The obvious answer is “nothing” (vv.36-38).
While some may question the love of God when they are in pain, we need to remember that the love of God was ultimately demonstrated by sending Jesus to the cross for our sins. In doing so, God Himself entered into suffering and shared it with us. Thus, through an act of suffering on our behalf, God demonstrated that His love is beyond question (Rom. 5:6-8).
What this means to us is that there is nothing that can happen to us that will tell us that God does not love us. If we are beaten, scorned, mocked, or reviled and persecuted in any way, these things cannot tell us that God does not love us. Likewise, if we are victimized by crime, or injured in an accident, or fall seriously ill, these cannot demonstrate that God does not care. The love and care of God is demonstrated in the cross, and nothing can take that away. Nothing.
So why is there pain and suffering?
Ultimately the answer goes back to the problem of sin. When Adam and Eve sinned, there were consequences that went into effect that will continually plague the earth and its inhabitants. The presence of suffering should not make us want to depart from God; it should cause us to draw closer, for in suffering we are witnessing the effects of living in a sin-filled world. Why would we want to revert to that which caused suffering in the first place?
Of course, this does not mean that every instance of pain in your life is due to your personal sin (cf. Job). It just means that we live in a fallen world that bears the ugly markings of sin. And suffering is a part of that. In instituting death for sin, God actually created a way in which to bring us back to Him. It is through the death of Jesus that we can be forgiven of our sins. This is the love of God; yet, without death, this sacrifice could not have been made. So physical death became a way of blessing us through Jesus.
We also need to keep in mind that this world is not the end of all things. God will bless us spiritually here; but what we receive here is only a downpayment of what is to come in heaven (cf. 1 Pet. 1:3-4). And this is all the more reason to give our lives to Him who has shown us the greatest love of all.
So the next time we are in pain, let’s think of how God loved us through the pain and agony of the cross. In doing so, we can take advantage of learning the patience and maturity that can come from our pain (James 1:2-5).
Article by: Doy Moyer from Focus Magazine