Summary: Pain becomes our teacher when God wants to teach us something. Pain strengthens our faith in God.
A. VARIOUS KINDS OF PAIN
1. Acute pain comes on suddenly, localized, easily identified, severe, and can become chronic.
2. Chronic pain persists longer, not easily described, hard to identify.
3. Somatic or nociceptive pain, activation of pain receptors: i.e., cut, broken bones, tissue damage. Transfers to the brain through spinal cord.
4. Visceral pain, i.e., internal organs damaged, disease, nervous system, or stroke. Usually vague and not localized. Caused by problems with internal organs, stomach, kidneys, bladder, intestines, etc. Results in fever, nausea, spasms, aches, etc.
5. Neuropathic pain is diffuse and is described as “pins and needles,” stabbing, piercing, cutting, and comes in waves, of frequency and intensity.
6. Psychological pain that is mental and stressful, that can lead to physical problems. Reflected in headaches, stomach pain, loneliness, stress, conflicts, and can lead to mental disorders. Can come from grief, rejection, emotional loss.
B. TYPES OF SUFFERING BY JOB
1. Loss of children.
2. Loss of wealth.
3. Loss of prestige.
4. Loss of support by wife (?). “Curse God and die” (2:9).
5. Loss of intimacy with wife (19:17). My breath is strange to my wife.”
6. Acute physical suffering from boils, elephantiasis.
7. Chronic physical suffering.
8. Psychological suffering.
C. WHY PAIN – (See Pain, pages 35-38)
1. Pain protects us from ourselves.
2. Pain strengthens our character, even when most of us don’t feel we need to learn or grow.
3. Pain strengthens our faith in God. He allows pain – not to break us – but to make us, i.e., (UL). “Trials are only to test our faith” (1 Peter 1:7, NLT).
4. Pain prepares us to serve God better, i.e., Joseph.
5. Pain helps us empathize with Jesus Christ. “That I may know Him . . . and the fellowship of His suffering” (Phil. 3:10).
6. Pain awakens us to our life purpose. “Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Cor. 12:10).
7. Pain motivates us to action.
8. Pain becomes our teacher when God wants to teach us something. “My troubles turned out all for the best – they force me to learn from your textbook” (Ps. 119:71), The Message).
9. Pain can help us comfort others going through suffering.
10. Our victory over pain and suffering can be an example to others and motivate them to victory. “A thorn in the flesh was given me . . . most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities that the power of Christ may rest upon me” (2 Cor. 12:7, 9).
11. Pain and suffering can advance the gospel. “That the things which happened to me have actually turned out for the furtherance of the gospel” (Phil. 1:12).
12. Pain and suffering prevent us from being proud or falling into sin. “There was given to me a thorn in the flesh . . . lest I shall be exalted above measure” (2 Cor. 12:7).
D. THE DIVINE SCULPTOR – (See Pain, chapter 1).
1. What does the sculptor see? He sees a beautiful statue.
2. What does the sculptor do? He removes unwanted and unneeded marble.
3. Why does the sculptor cause pain? He files and sands to make it smooth.
4. Can the marble tell the sculptor “no”? ____________________.
5. What is the sculptor’s delight? When his artworks represent his dream.
6. When does the pain end? When the artwork is completed in his mind.
If you have never really accepted Jesus as your personal Savior, would you do it right now? Do not delay or put it off. If you would like to receive Christ by faith, pray this simple prayer in your heart:
Dear Lord, I acknowledge that I am a sinner. I believe Jesus died for my sins on the cross, and rose again the third day. I repent of my sins. By faith I receive the Lord Jesus as my Savior. You promised to save me, and I believe You, because You are God and cannot lie. I believe right now that the Lord Jesus is my personal Savior, and that all my sins are forgiven through His precious blood. I thank You, dear Lord, for saving me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
If you prayed that prayer, God heard you and saved you. I personally want to welcome you to the family of God and rejoice with you.
All PBC lessons are available online at trbc.org/pbc. Go to www.Hopenow.tv for the current program schedule.
Dr. Towns' email is ELTowns@liberty.edu
Dr. Towns’ web address is www.elmertowns.com