Pain is good, as we're reminded in a book by Paul Brand and Philip Yancey. Without it we wouldn't know that something was wrong with our bodies or our souls. No pain is the plight of lepers, as explained in that book. Pain in Scripture is the inevitable result of sin. God made that clear to both Adam and Eve after they had sinned. Her pains in childbirth would be greatly increased, and the ground would be cursed over which they would toil, Adam would have to work extra hard in what is at times a losing battle. And they would grow old and die. And their fellowship with God in the garden, would be only a distant and probably fading memory.
God steps in by grace. He pursued the guilty and fleeing pair, and he pointed to the way, right through them, the way of redemption. Yes, they would procreate the seed by whom the serpent's head would be crushed. It is moving that God in his grace would use the very ones who sinned and through whom came the fall, to bring redemption and restoration to all things in the end. But such was, and is the nature of God's redemptive work. It is incarnational. In the incarnation, God in his Son, becomes completely human while remaining completely God. And to the undoing of the serpent and all that was done in their very sin. God used them, the guilty pair, they were not set aside as useless. And he uses us today, even in the midst of our own sin and guilt. God brings redemption in the Seed, Christ. Through faith we enter in and become part of what God is doing in Jesus, even in the midst of all our pain, struggle and doubt.
Some of us do seem to go through so much more pain than others, whether physically or emotionally. And for all kinds of reasons. But by faith we can see the pain work for the glory of God if we'll just let it point us in the direction God has for us. God can take the pain away in answer to prayer, but it may be present for a good reason. More often God wants us to learn to live through the pain and honor him in it. That is the real miracle, as I read recently, and I believe that's true. That is experiencing God's grace and walking by faith. To keep looking to God even when all our being is impacted in some kind of ongoing pain. That is pleasing to God.
What would you like to add here?
Tomorrow: "Climbing - justice" from L.L. Barkat, Stone Crossings: Finding Grace in Hard and Hidden Places