Summary: It interrupts comfort. It turns heaven into hell. Pain . . . it can cloud our vision or clear our vision. We must gain pain perspective.
Pt. 1- Pain Perversion
It has been said that there are only 2 things that are certain in life . . . death and taxes. However, I would add a third certain to that list. We know this is certain because it is a direct result of the choices and ramifications to those choices that Adam and Eve made in the garden. You remember what happens . . . they eat from the forbidden tree and God shows up and as consequences to their actions we are told in Genesis 3:17-19:
He told the Man: “Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from, ‘Don’t eat from this tree,’ The very ground is cursed because of you; getting food from the ground will be as painful as having babies is for your wife; you’ll be working in pain all your life long.
So we are promised many things in Scripture and we stand on, claim and celebrate those promises. However, we often overlook that pain was promised as well. So another way to say this is that the source of our pain is our fallenness. So pain is promised and it is real. I will not try to stand up here and downplay or diminish the reality of your pain. Some of you are dealing with heaping helpings of very real pain. Physical pain. Sickness is a constant companion. Emotional pain. Some of you are walking through the valley of the death of marriages, friendships, and love ones. Pain is real. However, I also want to tell you that there is hope and purpose in our pain. Yes . . . our pain is caused by our fallenness but the hope we have is in our fatherdness. God, in light of promised pain, then says “I am ever present help in the time of need!” So, although pain is promised so is His presence. So, I submit to you that our issue with pain is not the reality of pain it is our perspective during pain. I believe most of us struggle with perspective not because we believe God causes pain (we understand the source of our pain) but rather we falter because we struggle with the idea that God uses our pain! So our perspective gets messed up and we despise the pain, dwell on the pain, and allow pain to defeat us completely. I want to spend a few weeks talking about pain and try to help us to learn some lessons and a new perspective that will allow us to handle promised pain successfully and maybe even come to an understanding that in pain God is trying to use what the enemy meant for harm for our good.
3Then they said, “The God of the Hebrews has met with us. Now let us take a three-day journey into the wilderness to offer sacrifices to the Lord our God, or he may strike us with plagues or with the sword.”4But the king of Egypt said, “Moses and Aaron, why are you taking the people away from their labor? Get back to your work!” 5Then Pharaoh said, “Look, the people of the land are now numerous, and you are stopping them from working.” 6That same day Pharaoh gave this order to the slave drivers and overseers in charge of the people: 7“You are no longer to supply the people with straw for making bricks; let them go and gather their own straw. 8But require them to make the same number of bricks as before; don’t reduce the quota. They are lazy; that is why they are crying out, ‘Let us go and sacrifice to our God.’ 9Make the work harder for the people so that they keep working and pay no attention to lies.”
So after 400 years of this type of slavery and treatment God breaks in and sends a deliverer backed up by supernatural plagues until the Pharaoh relents and releases. The Egyptians change their mind and (Ex. 14) give chase to the escaping slaves only to be swallowed up by the Red Sea at the hand of God. Somewhere in the neighborhood of 1 million former slaves, supplied by their own task masters with riches are now marching towards a Promised Land that they will take as their own. However, three days into their journey they are dying of thirst. Moses cries out to God in the wilderness and God once again shows them that He is in control and has their best interest at heart and provides water. Then after a month of wilderness life they cry out to God in hunger and He provides manna (angel food). It is here that we come to a painful passage and gain perspective about pain.