There’s an illustration I remember from childhood, and it goes like this (I believe it was Mick “The Brick” who shared it with us kids in Church. I’ll use his example with my words):
Suppose the nerves in your hands didn’t work, and thus you felt no pain. Sure, it might give you advantages in a boxing match (provided you don’t get slammed too often), but what about in life? Why do you need nerves, why do you need pain?
To show something is wrong.
The illustration Mick used (from memory… and if it was him in the first place) is of a person he knew that would rest his hands places he shouldn’t… for instance… a barbeque plate. Unbeknownst to him, his hand was intensely, and rapidly, depleting. If only he could feel pain. Wouldn’t that be… good.
He was reliant on others to warn him.
The big idea is this: the goodness of pain is true for every sphere of life (physical, mental, relational, spiritual, etc).
Oh, boy … how ‘bout we test this out in the world of luuuurve.
Suppose, gentlemen (or the laaa-dies, as this works both ways), that you were quite fond of a woman. But, o, how strange, it seems there’s a bountiful of pain in that process. I’d like to submit then: something is wrong.
I would also submit: something is wrong, and maybe you’re the pain. Not her.
But like most pains the relief is never void of pain itself. It’s a painful process to rid your self of cancer… it can be a little painful pulling off a Band-Aid.
And it’s in this where we find the Biblical perspective. It is here that we see part of God’s intent for pain. It would be disingenuous of me to say that I have all the answers, for I myself believe that “the secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us…” (Deuteronomy 29:29). I can only work within the realm of what God has revealed. And He has revealed one amazing thing about pain, and I’ll state it using this theological quote from Jürgen Moltmann:
“A God who cannot suffer is poorer than any human.”
: Simply stated, Moltmann is making the point that if God created a world where pain exists without Himself actually suffering in that pain too… he is poorer than us all. He would be below us… Hitler would’ve been worthy of more praise.
But praise God, for He is a suffering God!
Praise God, for He is Jesus on the cross!
Praise God, for the pain of this world finds its ultimate relief in the pain of Jesus!
Yes. God. Felt. Pain.
And it is in that pain, the process of the cross, humanity’s Band-Aid, where the world will one day find a full relief. Hallelujah.
I hope you can see why Christians worship Jesus… I hope that the cross of Christ makes more sense than it used to.
But ultimately I hope that you have found relief from your pain in the pain of Jesus.
(A quick side note for you to ponder: between human beings, the biggest relief of all is found in real forgiveness, regardless of whether you’re the victim or the perpetrator. Forgiveness kills pain. And, relationally speaking, if you cannot forgive, you only invite pain to your circumstance. So, forgive.)