No one likes pain. At least no one in his or her right mind likes pain. Who honestly likes to be heartbroken, hurting or sad? These are some of the consequences of deep pain. Some people are more tolerant to pain then others but it doesn’t mean that they like it any better. My wife, Jessica is that way. I’ll stub my toe or get a stomach bug and it’s the end of the world. It’s just another thing to endure through for my tough better half. But she doesn’t like it any better. This is why the apostle Paul says in he is not visiting the church of Corinth in the beginning of 2 Corinthians 2. He says I didn’t make another PAINFUL visit to you because I can cause you pain and then you will cause me pain and there’s just going to be one big pain party. That’s not what he wanted because no one wants to feel pain or cause pain. Instead he wrote to them out of anguish to show his abundant love for them (v. 4). But there will still be pain. And there’s purpose in that pain.
This is why the apostle Paul points to the forgiveness of Jesus in verses 5-11. Forgiveness has great power over pain. The forgiveness we receive in the cross defeats the pain and consequences of sin in our life and the forgiveness we can show to those who cause us pain will bring us a real presence of Christ in the midst of those trials. However forgiveness is not the only thing that helps us in the midst of pain. A promise of victory from pain is also warranted in the Gospel. That’s what verses 12-17 speaks about and how we can be a great aroma or reminder of that Gospel victory in others lives. But for people to recognize that they need that forgiveness and victory over sin, they must feel the pain of it in the first place. This is why C.S. Lewis says:
“God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks to us in our conscience, but shouts to us in our pain: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”
No one wants to deal with pain but there’s purpose in it. It points us to the Gospel and the hope of a day where it will be no more. Until then let’s allow God to use suffering to sanctify us and point others to Him.
How has God used pain in your life? (Comment below).
By: Erik Koliser — West Campus Pastor