Hating Pain — A LifeWords Devotion - Hope 103.2

Hating Pain — A LifeWords Devotion

In the middle ages, groups of people called flagellants would go around localities and whip themselves.

By David ReayTuesday 28 Sep 2021LifeWords DevotionalsDevotionsReading Time: 2 minutes

Job 2:11-13

When three of Job’s friends heard of the tragedy he had suffered, they got together and traveled from their homes to comfort and console him. Their names were Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite. When they saw Job from a distance, they scarcely recognized him. Wailing loudly, they tore their robes and threw dust into the air over their heads to show their grief. Then they sat on the ground with him for seven days and nights. No one said a word to Job, for they saw that his suffering was too great for words. (NLT) 

In the middle ages, groups of people called flagellants would go around localities and whip themselves. It was seen by some as sharing Jesus’ sufferings. It could also be seen as a warped sort of spirituality that glorified pain. A sort of religious masochism.

We generally don’t go to such extremes today. But we can still have a funny old view of pain. Some Christians think it is a good thing, even something to be welcomed. The reasoning is that pain can draw us nearer to God who may work good results out of that pain. We can recall C. S. Lewis famous comment that pain was God’s megaphone to rouse a deaf world.

All true, but none of that makes pain at all good in itself. The fact that good may result from pain does not bestow goodness on it. Do any of us really enjoy being in pain? Sure, we clench our teeth, sing our praise songs, remember Scripture, but these are ways of adapting to something that is alien and hurtful.

Good may come out of it, but pain in itself is not some perverse friend, some malign messenger from a distant deity. God allows pain and can help us bear it via medical or whatever means he chooses. We are thus in the hands of a good God even as we endure a bad thing.

When we face others in pain, there is no easy explanation. Job’s friends only went off the rails when they opened their mouths and tried to offer such a thing. Job never did get an explanation, just an assurance of God’s presence. That satisfied him and it will have to satisfy us.

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