PAIN - A BIBLICAL PERSPECTIVE
[Ralph F. LaRosa states, 'The Recycling of Pain!', in his MISSIONARY REPORT, Vol 8 Issue 2, Mar/Apr 1999, P.O. Box 111, Lucena City, Philippines 4301]:
"During a television interview, David Frost asked former President George Bush how he could square his belief in a loving and all powerful God with the miseries and injustices of life. Frost reminded Bush of the time he shed tears at the sight of starving children and of his grief when his own daughter had died.
President Bush said, 'It never occurred to me to blame God for that.' He insisted the Lord has provided enough food for everyone, but starvation occurs because of human greed and ineptitude. The President said that his daughter's illness had drawn the family closer to one another and to God. He was comforted because he knew that she had been caught up in the arms of her loving heavenly Father.
Like the half million Kosovars that have been driven from their homes in Yugoslavia, we may suffer because of the greed and selfishness of others. Like the Bush family, we may endure sorrow for reasons we can't understand until a much later time. Or, we may suffer because of our own sin and bad decisions, as in teh case of David and his painful discipline that is graphically described in Psalm 39:1-13.
I'm sure that everyone who reads this newsletter has experienced lots of pain in their life and may be suffering at this very moment. I'm sure everyone knows people, good people, who are going through some very painful experiences right now. I know several in this category and we pray for them on a regular basis.
Like the rest of the world, people in the Philippines are experiencing many categories of pain. The advent of cable television also makes it possible for them to observe the suffering of so many others. However, when it becomes personal, the question that is often asked: Why has God allowed my pain? Well, the growing believer who knows and applies the doctrines related to Christian Suffering will have the ability to handle pain and its benefits.
GOD USES PAIN TO GET OUR ATTENTION
God uses pain to get our attention. Sometimes we don't see the light until we feel the heat. God used pain to prepare me to believe the gospel and become a Christian. Even after we are Christians, God uses pain to keep us going in the right direction. 'Sometimes it takes a painful situation to make us change our ways.' (Prov 20:30). Often, we forget the source of our strength. We neglect God's grace recovery system that provides the power to handle life. We get distracted from our need of daily spiritual renewal from God's word. 'It is good for me that I was afflicted, for it taught me to pay attention to your laws.' (Psa 119:71).
GOD ALLOWS PAIN TO GIVE US A MINISTRY TO OTHERS
God allows pain to give us a ministry to others (2 Cor 1:4)...
[2 Cor 1:3-4]:
(v. 3) "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort,
(v. 4) who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble withte comfort we ourselves have received from God.
(v. 5) For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows.
(v. 6) If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer.
(v. 7) And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort."]
...If we respond to pain in the right way it prepares us to serve. Pain can help us to be humble, sympathetic, and sensitive to the needs of other people. Therefore, God not only wants us to handle our pain, but He wants us to recycle the pain in our life to benefit other people. President Bush not only handled his pain and carried on with his life in a responsible way, but he recycled his pain with a great attitude and a positive testimony when questioned by David Frost.
We are to be ready for those opportunities (1 Pet 3:15). However, there is too much pain out there to simply wait for someone to question us. Sometimes God wants us to take the initiative (Gal 6:1).
We ask you to pray with us
that our local churches in the Philippines will become 'havens' where the
hurting, depressed, frustrated, addicted, abused and confused can find
acceptance, love, help, hope, forgiveness, guidance. and encouragement."