1. God used pain in Job's life to correct many mistaken beliefs about his own rights, expectations, assumptions, relationships, health, prosperity, controls, family, friends, faults, & securities. The Lord wonderfully used pain in Job's life to purify him of anything that would keep him from becoming 100% of what the Lord wanted him to think, be, and do. Job responded to God's correction in Job 40:2-8 & Job 42:1-10, "Will the one who contends with the Almighty correct Him? Do you have an arm like God's and can your voice thunder like His? Look at every proud man & humble him. Crush the wicked where they stand… Then I will admit to you that your own right hand can save… to which Job said, "I know that you can do all things; no plan of yours can be thwarted…. Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust & ashes… After Job had prayed for his friends, the Lord made him prosperous again & gave him twice as much as he had before." The Lord wanted to correct Job of his faulty presumptions, perspectives, attitudes, practices, & problems. God uses pain more often than other things to motivate, persuade, inspire, instruct, chasten, & mature people!
2. God used pain in the life of Amos to teach the people of Israel that they were allowing temporal security to replace their trust in the living God. Amos warned his people of God's impending judgment on them for their moral evils, their wide class distinctions between the rich & the poor, their drunkenness & sexual immoralities, their religious perversions, their idolatry, their criticizing of the faithful, plus their indifference to the Lord & all that He had done for them. Amos warned the Israelites that unless they repented & obeyed God, terrible judgment would result. He stressed that judgment is proportional to privilege. God's chosen covenant people above others will not escape His wrath! Above all God used pain & threats of worse catastrophes to emphasize the importance of growing in holiness in all dimensions (Socially, morally, emotionally, legally, financially, interpersonally, culturally, religiously, educationally, politically, & spiritually) of our lives & for His purposes!
3. God used pain in the life of Paul to chasten, refine, reprove, humble, love, purify, instruct, inspire, evangelize, work miracles and help him identify with Christ in all aspects of life & perspective. In 2 Corinthians 12:7-10 Paul said, "To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassing revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleased with the Lord to take it away from me. But He said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness…. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak then I am strong." We all have our own thorns in the flesh, be they physical, emotional, personality based, psychological, cultural, social, financial, interpersonal, historical, political, educational, or general. God gives each of us a measure of pain to keep us humble & trusting in Him rather than in ourselves. The Lord is only able to give fruit from our lives & ministries when we are abiding in His power, purposes, & processes
4. God used pain in the life of Esther to preserve the nation of Israel from the wicked plots of Haman. Esther's example is a beautiful illustration that no person is an island, no one walks alone. We are members of the body of Christ that share one another's pains, sorrows, & problems. By risking her own life, Esther was able to save her people from destruction & brought blessings to many! The Lord is able to use pain, problems, & predicaments for the greater good of His church, His kingdom & His purposes around the world. God's perspective is always higher than our finite viewpoints. This teaches us that we must try to keep God's eternal outlook (Macroscopic purposes) balanced with the human (Microscopic processes). God gave her beauty for His purposes.
5. God used pain in the life of Jesus Christ to make Him an everlasting example of endurance, love, commitment, sufficiency, bravery, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, self-control, purity, success, joy in the midst of sorrow. Hebrews 12:2,3 says, "Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider Him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary & lose heart." Jesus was able to become the supreme example for how to use painful experiences for conforming us into His image. We all have a different cross to carry & we must learn to deny ourselves & follow Him. Resist the temptation to compare your suffering to others as Jesus told Peter, "If I want John to remain until I return, what is that to you? You follow Me! (John 21:22) God has called each of us uniquely according to the culture, the family, the background, the education, the ministry, the fellowship, & the circumstances He has allowed to impact our lives. He is chipping away the rough edges of our lives until a beautiful diamond is produced that may reflect all of His glorious attributes!