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God's Free Gift

Pain >> What is the purpose of all the pain?

We all suffer pain in some form as we walk through our lives. It is natural to ask why.

If you check the timestamp for this article, you will find it is late. It is not unusual for me to be up late. I frequently fall asleep, only to awake a couple of hours later. The cycle repeats itself through out the night. Some times it is obvious the pain is at work. Other times I wonder if it is just habit, the pain sitting in the background.

It is natural to ask why -- why am I awake, why do I have the pain, why does God not heal it?

I have three friends who are in the midst of divorces. None of the three wanted a divorce but their spouses saw it differently.

One has been quiet, reserved, clearly calling upon God, but not airing the issues in public, never speaking ill of the spouse in public. My friend keeps head high, moving along the path that is before him allowing God to heal everyone.

My second friend is more or less at the opposite end of the pull. Most of the issues are made public. Unkind words are spoken about the spouse. Love is still professed, but mixed with wishes of vengence. Yet, he continually wishes for the marriage to be put back together.

My third friend sits somewhere inbetween the two.  There were words of vengence, but they have disappeared along ago. Now the mood is more one of confusion. The questions are not really how did all of this happen, but why do I have so much pain over these events.

In fact, all three have pain. At times it is a deep cutting pain for which there is no relief. The pain tears at their souls, just as my pain tears at my muscles. Just as my medicines only take off the top layer of pain, so their prayers leave most of the pain in place, eating away at their views.

We all ask why.

The answer shows in the attitudes. The one with the correct answer has handled the entire situation the best. He knew the answer almost from the beginning and thus has been able to fight the pains and keep the correct perspective. The ones who do not belief in the correct perspective fail to receive the cure.

Have you seen this week's Newsweek? The cover story is about an aged Billy Graham. I read the version on the web. I assume it is the same as the print story, although they may be different.

The editorial goal felt like an effort to compare a Graham of today with the fiery friend of politicians from the 60's, 70's, and 80's.

Today's Graham shys away from politics and commenting on current events. His focus is, if it is possible, even more keenly directed on just one point. He suffers from illnesses. He, I suspect, has pains and occassionally lays awake at night asking why.

On the other hand, the article makes it clear that like my first friend, Mr. Graham has his priorities in the proper arrangement and understands the reason behind the problems.

We are all under the thumb of God. We may not like this concept and we dislike some of the events that He allows to enter our lives, but there we sit, especially those of us who believe in the Bible and accept that God knows best and will make all things work to our benefit (Rom 8:28).

Isaiah 48:10 says that God has chosen us to be refined in the furnace of affliction. A search of the Bible shows this furnace is nothing more than life. God uses life to refine us and make us holy and more like Jesus.

Now life means both our life and the lives of those around us. Sometimes the contact with others is brief, such as when a complete stranger rams his car into ours. But, at other times, the lives that intersect with us are long time companions -- spouses, children, parents, fellow employess, bosses, long time neighbors and friends.

As these people suffer and live, they pains and joys strike us and affect how we live and respond each day. Thus, when illness strikes one of the group, it affects all.

Now, for my three friends, that illness comes in the form of disbelief of their spouses. Each of my friends are Christians, but each exercised their faith at different levels as they have proceeded through the divorce process. All three will, most likely, end up divorced. One is already there. The issue concerns how they view their circumstances.

If you completely believe God is in control, you may not like the sequence of events but you trust the outcome, be it good or bad. This is the peace my first friend has experienced.

If you try to control the situation, or hit spells of not believing God is really directing events, then you suffer greater pain and less peace. These are my other two friends. How their situations will play out remains to be seen, but I believe they have suffered a great loss of peace simply because they have attempted to control the pain by attempting to direct God's will to an end result they have chosen. They have presumed to know God's will and plans.

All of this brings me back to Billy Graham. In the article he expresses the clear opinion that he is less involved in politics and current events because he has come to realize that there is only one thing of importance and one thing to focus upon. That is the Gospel.

If we stay focuses on the Gospel, we keep Jesus in plain sight. We then remember to tell others about Jesus. We live our lives in the manner Jesus lived. We feel our pain less because we trust God's plans and goals. We truly believe God is leading the way and will make all things turn out for our good.

We cannot see God's plans most of the time. He only shows us a step or two, not the entire road. It is difficult to trust under such circumstances. But, that is the entire point of the Gospel. Only God is holy, so He is the only one who knows the holy path. Life is a mess of sins. We have to trust Him to lead us out of the sins and their consequences, whether they be our own, the sins of others, effects of sins long gone, or efforts of the devil to stop us.

Why the pain? So we can become more like Jesus and, hopefully, keep the Gospel in front of us all the time. Billy Graham has had the Gospel in front of him for his entire ministry, yet, now he can talk of keeping it more in front of him. We all have room to grow, thus, there will be more pains to endure. It is all for the glory of God and the spreading of the Gospel, one way or another.

Maybe waking up several times a night is not so bad after all.

Jim A


Posted On: 2006-08-08 00:26:31 || Comments (0 ) || Add a Comment
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