Pastor Ian starts a new series, Finding Purpose in Pain.
Pain is one of the most common of human experiences, next perhaps to say breathing and the perception of the five senses.
In fact if you can experience the sensation of touch then, you can experience pain physically or emotionally. If you can be touched physically or emotionally and heaven help us, if both at the same time you can be hurt.
This is why some people, in order to stop pain, anaesthetise themselves from the sensation of being touched. They do not allow anyone or indeed anything to get close to them.
We are born and then at some point will face death. In between both extremities of our lives, our days are punctuated with all kinds of pain.
Some manageable, more of a hassle or irritation than a problem. Other kinds of pain are deep, intense and prolonged. So bad that we sometimes despair of life itself.
Apostle Paul 2 Corinthians 1:8 ‘For we do not want you to be unaware brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself.’
Nothing in life prepares us for pain. As common as pain is portrayed in the Bible, we seldom teach or preach about it in the church. So each person develops their own coping mechanism for dealing with pain, some healthy, some destructive.
Whether you manage it well or not, pain will come. Even for the believer, life is mixture of pain and pleasure, victories and defeats, successes and failures.
1.Pain Is Not Optional
As students of Jesus, we are guilty of sometimes treating life like a menu, where we get to pick and choose what we want. We get the idea that we do not need to go through pain, if we play our cards right, do the right thng, say the right things, think the right things
Jesus said in John 16:33 ‘In the world you will have tribulation’ the word tribulation in this context means pressure, affliction, anguish, trouble… in short pain.
This is one promise that we don’t need to fast and pray to claim. Just keep breathing, it will come in time. Pain is part of the curriculum of life. It is not an elective, it is a required element. So don’t let it surprise you when it happens.
2.Pain Is Not Predictable
Have any of you noticed that problems come when you least expect them, why is this? Because in reality, you were never expecting them. There is really no convenient time to experience pain.
Problems have no respect for your calendar or what is convenient or comfortable for you. They are simply unpredictable.
Pain is not predictable. But God does promise us this … He will always provide a way of escape, a way through and out.
In the same way God sent and angel to minister to Jesus after His temptation and during His agony in Gethsemane. God will send an angel to strengthen you.
3.Pain is Not Prejudiced
Pain is no respecter of persons, it affects people indiscriminately regardless of Ethnicity, faith, no faith, beliefs or culture.
Jesus speaking about the need to love our enemies, those that would intentionally bring you hurt and pain said this about His Father: ‘For He makes the sun to rise on the good and He sends rain on the just and the unjust.’ Matthew 5:45
What was Jesus saying here? Bad things happen to good people; and good things happen to bad people. Pain does not discriminate.
4.Pain Is Not Permanent
Robert Schuller tele evangelist (Hour of Power) said ‘tough times never last but tough people do’
No matter what you’re going through today, no matter how long you’ve been going through it three weeks or three years; don’t forget you are only going through it. However intense the pain may be, it will pass.
Apostle Paul reminds us of this ‘the affliction is only for a moment’ 2 Corinthians 3:17 It is a known reality of life that storms come and storms go.
The fact that your pain came to an end cannot be the real victory. No, the real victory is in what you become when the pain is over.
How you come out is not up to God neither the Devil, it’s up to you. God’s responsibility is to make sure you do come out.
So put on God’s armour now! Then when the evil day comes, you will be able to resist the enemy’s attacks; and after fighting to the end, you will still hold your ground. Ephesians 6:13