What does the Bible say about pain?Question: "What does the Bible say about pain?"
Answer: The word “pain” or some form of it appears over 70 times in Scripture. The word’s first usage explains the origin of pain in childbirth: “To the woman He said, ‘I will greatly multiply your pain in childbirth, In pain you will bring forth children; Yet your desire will be for your husband, And he will rule over you’” (Genesis 3:16, NASB). The context here is that Adam and Eve had sinned and the pain of childbirth is one of the consequences of sin. Because of sin, the whole earth was cursed, and death entered in as a result (Romans 5:12). So, it may be concluded that pain is one of the many results of the original sin.
While not specifically stated in the Bible, medically we know that pain is a gift. Without it we would not know when we needed medical attention. In fact, the absence of pain is one of the problems associated with leprosy. Children would never learn that touching a hot stove is a bad idea, nor would we be alerted to a dangerous medical condition without the pain associated with it. Spiritually speaking, one of the benefits of pain is expressed by James: “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance” (James 1:2-3). According to James, when we endure painful trials, we can take joy in knowing that God is at work in us to produce endurance and Christ-like character. This applies to mental, emotional and spiritual pain as well as to physical pain.
Pain also provides one an opportunity to experience the grace of God. Consider what Paul said: “And He has said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.’ Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me” (2 Corinthians 12:9). Paul was speaking of a “thorn in his flesh” that was troubling him. We don’t know what it was, but it seemed to have been painful for Paul. He recognized that God’s grace was being given to him so he could endure. God will give His children the grace to bear pain.
But the really good news is that Jesus died in our place for our sins: “For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit” (1 Peter 3:18). Through belief in Jesus Christ, God gives the believer eternal life and all the blessings that are included. One of which is “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away” (Revelation 21:4, emphasis added). The pain we experience as a natural part of living in a fallen, sin-cursed world will be a thing of the past for those who, through faith in Christ, spend eternity in heaven with Him.
In summary, although pain is not pleasant, we should thank God for it because it alerts us that something is wrong in our body. Also, it causes us to reflect on the awful consequence of sin and be extremely thankful to God for making a way for us to be saved. When one is in pain, it is an excellent time to realize that Jesus endured excruciating emotional and physical pain on our behalf. There is no pain that could approach the horrific events of Jesus’ crucifixion, and He suffered that pain willingly to redeem us and glorify His Father.
Recommended Resource: Everything Happens for a Reason? God's Purposes in a World Gone Bad by Paul Enns
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