Monday, August 4, 2014

The Blessing of Pain?

If allowed, pain can be life’s greatest teacher. A life of pleasure invites softness, lethargy and unresponsiveness to those moments in life when change is needed.
Author John C. Maxwell said “Pain prompts us to face who we are and where we are. What we do with that experience defines who we become.”
In my previous post I pointed out one of the mistakes we make when we are in pain is to make matters worse by crafting our solutions. When King Ahaz was in pain he did not call on the Lord for help but did what seemed right in his eyes.

In contrast, King Manasseh, for a period of his life was tone deaf to the voice of God (2 Chronicles 33:10). 

God spoke to him about his immoral behavior but he and the people did not listen to the voice of God.
It never goes well when the word of God is ignored. So God sent some pain into his life. The Lord gave the green light to the Assyrians who promptly captured Manasseh with hooks, bound him with chains and carried him to Babylon (2 Chronicles 33:11).

In his pain he awakens to his need for help. Instead of trying to solve his problems on his own and make matters worse, this king took one essential step that you and I can also take when facing similar circumstances:

Humble prayer:
While Manasseh was in painful captivity, he asked the Lord God to forgive him and to help him. The Lord listened to Manasseh's prayer and saw how sorry he was, and so he let him go back to Jerusalem and rule as king. Manasseh knew from then on that the Lord was God (2 Chronicles 33: 12-13 CEV).

The blessing of pain
C. S. Lewis (The Problem of Pain) said “We can ignore even pleasure. But pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”

I know some of you might have a problem with Lewis’ view of God. God uses pain to rouse us from our somnolence? From our perspective this seems harsh but from the perspective of heaven here’s what the Scriptures say about pain in the believer’s life:

Be patient when you are being corrected! This is how God treats his children. Don't all parents correct their children? God corrects all his children, and if he doesn't correct you, then you don't really belong to him. Our earthly fathers correct us, and we still respect them. Isn't it even better to be given true life by letting our spiritual Father correct us? Our human fathers correct us for a short time, and they do it as they think best. But God corrects us for our own good, because he wants us to be holy, as he is. It is never fun to be corrected. In fact, at the time it is always painful. But if we learn to obey by being corrected, we will do right and live at peace (Hebrews 12: 7-11 CEV).

How has pain brought you greater awareness of yourself and God?