Purpose in Pain

This is a re-posting of a comment I made today on a previous blog post. I thought it might be worth sharing as a post of it’s own. It’s probably a bit more of a rant than the more thought out articles I normally post, but I’ve decided to post it as is. Perhaps it’ll help someone today.

There is a picture in my head which I don’t think I’ve ever been able to adequately express to anyone with words, but it’s something like this: We see and accept that nature has laws, but God is the source of those laws. What is “natural” are those things in harmony with God, while anything not acknowledging, relying on, and magnifying his glory is in fact “unnatural”. Every good and perfect gift is unidirectionally from him alone. We have no love, no joy, no peace except what comes FROM him and THROUGH us. We are in fact not even ABLE to love him unless he puts that love in us first, for he indeed is the singular source of any such love. In us there is NOTHING good!

So I picture an unseen, heavenly “dimension” of things created which see and abide by this principle. All creation, both seen and unseen, is created for the glory of God and is to operate for that singular purpose; his glory. All God EVER does is for that one reason. Humanity is wholly UNNATURAL in it’s desire to glorify itself. We are cursed and depraved. There are ways that really, truly SEEM completely right to us, but the end thereof leads only to death. These ways are unnatural according to God’s universal decrees…

… yet for reasons unknown he has mercy! By his grace he draws some of us back to life in him and sanctifies us back to what is in fact natural. The things we see as right and wrong, blessing and curses are in fact backward because WE are backward. When God brings us low and causes us to “suffer”, this is seen in the wrong light. In our depravity we mislabel this blessing as curse, when he is in fact breaking us out of a system of thought that keeps us opposed to his kingdom. Our thoughts keep us bound to a kingdom that will perish.

Oh God, have mercy on us! Would you continue to break us free of those things which seem right and make us comfortable, complacent, and ultimately opposed to you! Break our wills that we be restored to our proper function in glorifying you throughout all creation!

We must remember that those things which are seemingly a curse are a temporary and light affliction in view of eternity, and that God corrects (through trial) those he loves. This is done by means of the crucible: “The crucible is for silver, and the furnace is for gold, and the LORD tests hearts.” (Prov 17:3) Precious metals are refined by being brought to a boiling point so that the impurities may be revealed and given up. Likewise, our hearts are refined by the LORD bringing our hearts to a boil so that the evil we harbor is brought forth to be removed.

Don’t run away from pain. Recognize the hand of God at work and ask how you may serve him and yield to him in that season. If you are called according to his purpose then you can rest assured that he is working all things together for both his glory and your good! Rejoice in your trials and know he can be trusted! Seek, then, to serve him by your obedience and glorify him by your offering of praise in the darkness. Let the world wonder at how you rejoice in the middle of pain, and be sure and take none of that praise for yourself so that you may properly function in your ONLY created purpose:

To glorify your creator.


6 thoughts on “Purpose in Pain

  1. Wow, Dan! Those are my thoughts, exactly, but you have expressed them far more adeptly than I ever could :-). I’m grateful to have found your blog through a comment you left on Susanne’s blog, Entering The Promised Land. I look forward to reading more of your posts! May the joy of the Lord be yours today!

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  2. Wonderful words & truths Dan.

    God has been speaking to me along these lines as well- my next post will be called, “For better or for worse” and echoes some of what you shared herein.
    I don’t struggle so much with accepting all things from My Father, I have difficulty staying the course as it relates specifically to what He is building in the Spirit. When I don’t sense that He is using me much my tendency is to get sidetracked with “good things” or “permissible things” in the midst of the waiting on Him. This in turn can delay the whole process that much more and makes me learn some lessons all over again.
    Pain has a purpose yes, but I believe it has both an individual function as well as a corporate one. It’s easy to be focused upon how our pain affects us, much more difficult to consider how my pain and others’ pain should affect me and the ekklesia as a whole. This is something we ought to consider much more seriously.

    For years we have retrained this thought that “I” ought to glorify God with my life and this is certainly true. This alone only leads people to follow or become like us as individuals and that falls short of God’s intent. But the manner God desires to express His glory is not through “I” alone but through “We,” (the pillar and foundation of the truth). It’s the corporate expression that matters most, for this is the place where reality is expressed and where the world will see the practical working out of our sufferings one with another. In turn, this will convince them that Jesus was really sent of God and that there really is a purpose for all the pain and a real reason to embrace it.
    Obviously, the modern day concept of “church” is inadequate and falls far short of this reality. A true embracing our pain requires that we remove those things which cause us pain, at least those things originating from ourselves and as you say, “the unnatural things.”

    I’m with you brother, may God break us free of those things we think are right, comfortable and make us complacent…..

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  3. Dan and Michael, this is really a great exchange! When we suffer pain, God has a purpose in it. First it makes us to turn to Him alone when everything else in our lives has “gone south.” I had to reach the end of myself before I surrendered to Christ in 1970. If He had not come to me when He did I would have ended my life, but He picked me up and gave me His beauty for my ashes and His joy for my mourning and His praise in my heart for spirit of suicide.

    Then “phase two” started, God’s child training… after a wonderful honeymoon with Jesus that lasted 10 months, the pain started again, but this time it was my Daddy taking me out to “the woodshed” (see Hebrews ch. 12). I then went through years of church abuse and being disillusioned with what calls itself “the church” for I found it to be the same dysfunctional family that I grew up with, with my alcoholic father, but this time the booze of choice was power over people. God had to let me get kicked around in that system until I quit looking to men for what HE could only give. Jesus’ words, “Call no man father, teacher or Rabbi (pastor)” finally took on new meaning. Christ was to become my ALL in all.

    More recently another thing has been going on along the lines of what Michael has posted on here. For years I have licked my wounds and felt the pain of what OTHERS have done to ME, but more recently HE has let me feel the pain of what I have done (and am doing) to others instead. It is part of “the fellowship of HIS sufferings.” Like Paul said about a healthy body, “when one member suffers, all members suffer.” I was so absorbed in my own pain that I could not feel what I was doing to others AND could not feel Jesus’ pain as He stands before the Father ever making intercession for us as our High Priest who is acquainted with our humanity and sufferings in a VERY real way as we do. Paul spoke of wanting to “know the fellowship of His sufferings” and “filling up the sufferings of Christ” in himself. This happens when we finally start to walk as He walks upon this earth and gladly start embracing the pain that death might work in us so that life might abound to others. It is no longer about “our little owie, ” but about love that reaches out beyond our pain in Christ’s love for Him and for others… such a great love that we even want to be conformed to His death.
    Love you all,

    Liked by 1 person

  4. You talked about serving and obedience. Under the New testaments we are called sons and daughters not servants Under the Old testament God had servants.Now that we are children we just follow. God is not looking for servants but Children to walk with him. We have the Spirit to do that! I thank my Father for showing me that. The Jewish people Couldn’t call God Father! But anyone in Christ can call him Abba! We don’t serve God, We walk with God!

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