Summary: One of the ongoing challenges of the Christian life is the issue of pain
The Problem of Pain
August 30, 2009
Driving through Texas, a New Yorker collided with a truck carrying a horse. A few months later he tried to collect damages for his injuries. "How can you now claim to have all these injuries?" asked the insurance company’s lawyer. "According to the police report, at the time you said you were not hurt." "Look," replied the New Yorker. "I was lying on the road in a lot of pain, and I heard someone say the horse had a broken leg. The net thing I know this Texas Ranger pulls out his gun and shoots the horse. Then he turns to me and asks, ’Are you okay?’"
Reader’s Digest, July, 1994, p. 64.
Everyone experiences difficult days. Days when there seems to be more pain than relief, more hardship than help and more suffering than support. My brother used to share a bit of wisdom with me: if it doesn’t kill you, it only makes you stronger. Then he would hit me and tell me he was making me stronger.
Pain does not work this way. Pain has a tendency to ebb away our strength. Pain slowly eats away at our physical and emotional defenses until it breaks through to erode aspects of our lives. Pain saps away our strength.
Recently I spoke with a friend who suffers from migraine headaches. The pain was so great that they were physically sick, nausea overtook them and they wanted to be left alone. Pain makes us feel sick, isolated and alone.
Everyone deals with three different types of pain.
Maybe you have felt like the Psalmist who wrote these words: How long, O LORD? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and every day have sorrow in my heart? How long will my enemy triumph over me?
Pain can make us feel alone but nothing could be farther from the truth. The bad news is that we all experience pain but the good news is that we never have to bear it alone.
Last week we spoke about Peter and how he was stuck in his old life and his old manner of living. This morning I want to examine two people whose lives were stuck in the midst of pain and suffering. If you have your Bibles this morning, please open them to Mark 5:21-43.
Where is God when life hurts?
Pain is not part of God’s plan
We often find ourselves asking questions during times of difficulty and pain. There are times when we are hurting that life just doesn’t make sense. When God created the world several times he called it good and when it was finished he called it very good. There are times when I look at the world around me and good is the least thing I would call it.
Life is not fair - watch the news
• Children are horrible abused
• People are shot and killed for no reason
• Drug dealers continue to peddle their poison
• People across the globe are starving
• Hurricanes destroy homes and take lives
• Children are kidnaped
• Young men and women are fighting for our freedom while political activists absue their rights to criticize the military
Suffering fills the pages of the Bible - look at the Bible
• Joseph was sold into slavery by his brothers
• Job lost everything in a single day
• John the Baptist was executed for no good reason
• The apostles were beaten and tortured for preaching the gospel
Pain and suffering are a direct result of sin. Let me clarify what I mean. If God declared creation very good something must have changed. The change came when sin entered the world. We suffer because this world is no longer good but corrupted by sin. The promise of new heaven and new earth is that there will be no more pain, no suffering, no sickness, no sorrow. Why is that the case? The world will be cleansed of the power and corruption of sin.
Suffering should cause us to seek Jesus
We see two different and unique situations with remarkable similarities. The first person to come to Jesus was Jairus. Jairus was a ruler of a local synagogue and had a position of authority. We do not know what his position was but it was clear he was a person of great importance. Jairus comes to Jesus seeking help for his daughter.
Jairus comes out of sheer desperation. There was no where else to turn and no one would help him. The only reason that Jairus leaves the side of his dying daughter is because no one else would go for him. There are times in life when we come to the end of ourselves. Jairus was humbled before Jesus and fell on his face at the feet of Jesus.