How God Uses Our Pain

Theme: How we gain through our pain. 

Text: Selected Scriptures

America is a pain conscious nation. Everywhere you look we’ve got advertisements for pain relievers, painkillers, and pain reducers. It seems like the whole world has got a headache if you look at it from the advertising viewpoint.

The fact is that pain is a part of life. To never have any pain in your life is to be inhuman.

But if you’re a human being, you have physical pain, you have emotional pain and you have spiritual pain.

Now the world has taught us many myths about pain that just isn’t true. Some of them are harmless, but one very destructive myth is this:

Myth: If you ignore your pain it will go away.

·   The fact is God doesn’t want us to ignore our pain. He wants us to discover the cause so we can find real relief.

Pain is like a warning light and it’s saying something is wrong in our life. Now is it wise to ignore a warning light? No, it’s not. And it’s not wise to ignore your pain. It is saying that something is wrong.

· The truth is pain is a tool that God uses for good in our life.

Now the problem is we often don’t understand it. We don’t realize what the good is.

We don’t see any purpose in it and if pain doesn’t have any purpose, it’s very difficult to handle. It’s much easier to handle when you see a purpose behind it.

In this study I’d like to take you through five ways God used pain for good in our life.

 

I. God Uses Pain to Goad Us.

A.  That means to motivate me. Goad means to spur into action. Pain spurs us into action like nothing else.

1.  Example: I don't want to go to the dentist until the pain gets so unbearable that the pain is greater than my fear and then I'll move into action.

2.  Prov. 20:30 (GN) says, "Some times it takes a painful experience to make us change.

3.  Pain forces us to change when we don't want to change.

B.  Pain really makes you want to be changed. Usually when we hit bottom, then we're ready to change.

1.  Example:

The Prodigal Son in Luke 15:14-18 (GN) "…Spent everything he had…and was hungry…at last he came to his senses and said…"I'll get up and go to my Father."

2.  The hunger pain finally motivated him to move

· God uses pain to motivate us, to goad us. We'd rarely change if we didn't have any pain.

II.  God Uses Pain to Guide Us.

A.  Like a bit in a horse's mouth, God takes pain and He turns us in different directions because of the pain.

1. Psa. 119: 71-72 (LB) "…it was the best thing that could have happened to me, for it taught me to pay attention to your laws.

2.  David is saying that painful experiences are teaching tools.

·God whispers to us in our pleasure, but He shouts to us in our pain. He says, "I want your attention."

3. Sometimes it doesn't take a lot of pain. You know, just a little rudder can turn a big ship. Sometimes just a little pain in your life will lead you in a new direction.

B. Hebrews 12:7 (LB)  "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?"

1. Sometimes the only way to train is through pain.

2. How many of you who are parents would rather not have to discipline you children?

3. How many of you parents, even though you'd rather not have to discipline, sometimes you must discipline for your child's own good?

4. Why do you do it?  You discipline because of love.

·God is the same way. God doesn't like to allow pain in our life, but sometimes God has to do it anyway to discipline us, to train us, to move us in the right direction.

·It's not because He's angry. It's not because He's retaliating. It's not because He doesn't like us.

·Some things you're only going to learn through pain because you're a human being.

And so God goads us, but He also guides us with the pain that we have in our lives. But we never need to doubt God's love. His motive behind all of the pain is…It's for our good.

III. God Uses Pain to Gauge Us

A.  In other words, it's a measuring tool. God uses pain to see what we're like on the inside.

1.  People are like tea bags. You don't know what's in them until you drop them in hot water. And you don't really know what's inside of you until you are faced with a test of pain.

B. The Bible often compares pain to a refining fire.

1.  Like a fire you heat up to refine gold or silver and as it heats the gold or silver the impurities are burned off - the dross is burned off.

2.  And so, God wants to use the pain in our life to burn off some impurities, to burn off some things that shouldn't be there.

C.  Isa. 48:10 (NIV) "I have tested you in the furnace of affliction."

1.  It says I have tested you. Pain is a test. It exposes the real you. It shows what you are like on the inside.

2.  Do you know why? Because it's impossible to maintain an image when you are in pain.

·God is more concerned about your integrity and your character than He is of your image.

3.  James 1:2-3 (MES) "…tests and challenges come at you from all sides. (And) you know that under pressure your faith life is forced into the open and shows its true colors."

4.  James is saying, pressure reveals what you are like on the inside. Now what does pressure reveal about your faith?

IV. God Uses Pain to Guard Us.

A.  Sometimes God uses pain to protect us from something worse happening to us - sometimes far worse.

1.  Sometimes He uses pain to protect us and prevent us from getting involved in something we shouldn't be involved in.

2.  God uses it to guard us. Sometimes pain can be a blessing in disguise.

Illustration: Joseph

Do you remember the story of Joseph in the Bible? The first chapter of his life is like a horror story; for everything that could go wrong did go wrong. For forty years he's neglected and he's rejected and he's sold into slavery by his brothers and falsely accused of rape and he's thrown into prison. Then he's forgotten in prison. His whole life is just one painful experience after another.

But if you read the end of the story, you realize God was preparing him and through those circumstances he ended up being second in command in Egypt and saved not only Egypt, but he also saved Israel.

At the end of his life he says, Gen. 50:20 (NIV) "You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good."

There will be people who mean to harm you that will come into your life. They may have harmed you as a child. They may be harming you right now, emotionally, physically or in some other way, but God says, "I have a plan and purpose bigger than that and they may mean it for bad, but I mean it for good."

You see, all along in Joseph's life, God was goading, guiding, gauging, guarding and growing Joseph for greatness because, listen, there is no greatness without some kind of painful experience.

And so Joseph can say, "You meant it for bad, but God meant it for good. He was guarding me."

· The greater the pain, the greater the privilege.

 

V.  God Uses Pain to Grow Us.

A.  It's possible to grow spiritually and emotionally when everything is going great and life's fantastic.

1.  But…grow faster and far deeper in the dark phase of the soul.

2.  We grow deeper and far greater in the valleys rather than on the mountaintops.  That's just the way we are made.

B.  James 1:4 (LB), "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 complete."

1.  Pain is the high cost of growth.

2. It's trite, but true. There is no gain without pain. It just doesn't come any other way.

3.  The fact is we want the product without the process.

4. What's the product? The product is maturity, emotional stability, health and wholeness.

·God loves us too much to bless us too quick.

·Can we handle blessing without it becoming a curse?

C.  To summarize all I've presented in this lesson in one sentence it would be this:

The very thing that discourages you the most God uses to develop you and it is not an accident.

1.  James 1:4 (LB), "…So don't try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well developed."

2.  Paul says it like this, talking about the pain he has experienced. I Corinthians 1:9 (Ph), "This happened…..so we might learn to trust, not in ourselves, but in God."

3.  You see, you don't know, you really don't know that Jesus Christ is all you need until Jesus Christ is all you've got.

Conclusion:

I want to encourage you in closing this study to do a little self-evaluation by thinking about any hurt you're going through and the pain you're going through and ask yourself this:

1.  Father, are You using this to goad me- to motivate me into action- to do something I know I ought to be doing anyway?

2.  Are You using this pain to guide me - to point me in a new direction?

3.  Are You using this pain to gauge me, to help me measure myself and see what I'm really like on the inside and see what needs to be changed? Is it a warning light that something is out of order?

4.  Are You using this pain to guard me - to protect me from something worse - to keep me from wondering too far - to keep me dependant upon you?

5.  Are You using this pain to grow me - to make me more like Your Son Jesus Christ?

 

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