Summary: Each of us has times when pain attacks us. It may be physical or emotional, but it crashes against us like an avalanche. This sermon suggests how to move beyond the pain that comes.
Moving Beyond Life’s Pain
Dr. David L. Haun
Hope Christian Church, May 23, 2004
All of us face times in our lives when we feel pain and hurt. We wish it never would happen. We wish we might move from birth to the grave free from all discomfort. However, that just doesn’t happen.
There are some typical ways typical people deal with pain in their lives. Sometimes, one will say, "If I just ignore it, it will go away." Or, another frequent response thinks, "If I take some pill it will end the pain." Some go so far as to assume the pain is a burden resulting from improper thoughts or actions.
The Bible offers a different way of looking at pain in our lives. On the night of Jesus’ betrayal, he gathered with his disciples in an upper room. He shared the truth of his coming suffering: the hurt and fear he would face, and the love that would come from the pain. During the evening as he was teaching an object lesson to the disciples, Jesus said, "You don’t realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand." (John 13:7)
It is the intention of our sermon today to help us develop our understanding of what Christ meant in his statement, and to discover ways that we might move in our lives beyond life’s pain.
Does God cause pain? Most would agree that God allows it, but there are many who insist that "their" God ever would be the cause of pain, or that God ever would create suffering in our lives. We begin our consideration with the premise that God does, on occasion, bring pain into our lives. As we progress, I believe our consideration of Scripture will make that clear.
Finding God’s Purpose in our Pain (1)
1. God may use pain to Motivate us.
a. All of us remember the story Jesus told of the Prodigal Son. You remember, he asked his father for an early granting of his inheritance, and after receiving what would be his, he squandered in a strange land, finally returning to home to plead with his father to be allowed back.
There are three scenes, acts, or chapters to that Scriptural story.
[Scene one] "....The younger son packed his bags and left."
[Scene two] "….He wasted everything he had. …He was so hungry.
[Scene three] "….That brought him to his senses."
(Luke 15:14-18 – The Message)
b. Most dental insurance plans allows for free cleaning of our teeth three or four times a year. However, even though it is allowed, some of us, including me put off going for that free cleaning as long as we can. We don’t want to take the time to make the appointment and go. Well, just let a Tooth ache appear and the story changes. The pain of the tooth makes us quickly call the dentist
2. God may use pain to Guide us.
"My troubles turned out all for the best — they forced me to learn from your textbook." (Psalm 119:71-72 – The Message)
"Let God train you, for he is doing what any loving father does for his children. Whoever heard of a child who was never corrected?" (Heb. 12:7 - Living Bible)
Pain can be a teaching tool - sometimes a little is enough:
Bit in horse’s mouth or a Rudder on a ship.
Skinned knee on child - be careful.
3. God may use pain to Protect us from a worse situation.
a. Pain of fever means infection that needs attention.
b. Danger of giving aspirin for dog. It can disguise the pain and cause the animal to move in ways that create greater harm.
Leprosy has no pain.
c. Pain can indicate life out of balance
"I am about to fall, and my pain is ever with me. I confess my iniquity; I am troubled by my sin." (Ps 38:17-18 - NIV)
4. God may use pain to Mature us.
a. Today’s Scripture reading (Hebrews 5:7-9)
b. Pain can be an ongoing part of life. My early "growing pains"
"For when the way is rough, your patience has a chance to grow. So let it grow, and don’t try to squirm out of your problems …then you will be ready for anything, strong in character, and full and complete." (James 1:4 – Living Bible)
Living with Pain in a Christ-like way
The Bible spells out how this can be done. Let’s look at four scriptural suggestions of how to live through pain as a Christian.
1. "Your attitude should be the kind that was shown us by Jesus Christ … going so far as actually to die a criminal’s death on a cross." (Phil. 2:5-8 – Living Bible)
a. Remember that experience mentioned earlier in the upper room, and the statement of Jesus: "You don’t understand now. One day you will."