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Pain....... April 11, 2021

In the world you will have tribulations. But take heart; I have overcome the world. John 16: 33b ESV. We know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28 ESV

Wherever you turn today, you can see so much pain. How do you deal with pain especially when it makes no sense? The question is often asked, “If God is so good why is there so much pain?” The reality is, we are in a broken world, and we need to remember what caused the brokenness. There is no easy answer to the topic of pain; but as we experience pain, we need to seek the cause in order to deal with it. We need to decide if it can be eliminated or managed. Unfortunately, not all pain can be eliminated, so it must be managed. Different words can be used to describe pain such as loss, hardship, injury, emotional, and this list could continue depending upon what event or circumstance is in a person’s life. Most pain is uninvited. It must be dealt with in order to cope with it until healing is experienced or God takes us home.

UNINVITED: Every person in the world has experienced some type of pain in life. The uninvited pains are many times the most difficult to deal with or manage. Uninvited pain for some can create the question concerning the goodness of God. Perhaps this questioning of God is asked based on what the individual would do if they were “God”. With that question, one must ponder the facts of what God has already done to overcome or manage pain and then ask the question, “Would they have done the same?” This question or thought process will be discussed more under the “God’s Pain” heading which follows. In almost every painful situation, faith is required believing God is and always will be God no matter what experiences one has in life. (Examples .. Emotional pain—If I perish I perish. Esther’s story Ester 4:16... Physical pain— not knowing the outcome- Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego Daniel 3:16-18....... Physical and Emotional Pain- Joseph story- Genesis 50:20-21)

INVITED: It might be unimaginable for someone to invite pain into their life, but this is done every day. This invitation might be the result of a surgery and is very real, but the intended outcome in most cases is to reduce or eliminate perpetual pain. It can be the emotional pain of saying goodbye to a child when you see them off to college or some other situation, but it is invited because you were willing to let them go even though it was painful. Not all invited pains are good. The pain that is invited into your life by poor choices is not the fault of God or anyone else, it is the result of that choice. With this thought let me encourage us to choose wisely as there is more than enough pain in life without creating more by bad choices. (Examples of those who chose wisely in faith... Hebrews 11)

GOD’S PAIN: The issue of pain was nonexistent until the fall of man into sin. Every physical or emotional pain experienced today is attributed to sin. God did not create us as robots but rather as intellectual beings with tasks such as the naming of the animals in the garden. I believe God experienced pain when he removed Adam and Eve from the garden. I say this because God, right then and there, did something to deal with the pain of separation. He began planning the way to restore the fellowship He had with them before sin. He decided to become flesh and to die in order to pay the price required for our sin....... death. (John 1:14 & John 3:16) If God wanted robots he could have simply erased Adam and Eve and started over, but God created life and values the life of every individual with purpose. I would dare say that we who ask the question, “Why doesn’t God do something about pain?” would have erased Adam and Eve and started over because they were the cause of God’s present and future pain. We are only here to ask such a question because of God’s mercy and His love. Have you ever loved someone even though their actions created pain in your life? Then you received a glimpse of God’s mercy and the “why he did not erase” you and me from the earth. Perhaps you may even think that does not make any sense to which I would reply....exactly!!!!” When we try to make God make sense, then it is then that we start searching for answers elsewhere, and Satan will give you more than enough reason and logic to turn your faith into doubt. I have learned over the years that God is God even if I don’t understand. It is called faith, and faith pleases God. It is faith believing that God is bigger than all my understanding or reasoning and believing God loves me. The more I gain of this understanding, the more my love for Him grows ...... even though I don’t always understand.

APPLICATION: How can one even apply this teaching when our tendency is to run from anything that causes pain. My answer requires effort on the individual's part, but I believe it is necessary. Questions are not bad, for they will cause you to seek answers. Let me caution you though to seek answers that will not cause you more pain by camouflaging the real pain in a person’s life ...... the absence of God. If by faith you believe some or any of the teaching above, let me give you a place to start. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:13 ESV. Life is a journey, and every journey takes a path that will have a final destination. May I encourage you not to necessarily take the easy path in life’s journey, but I do encourage you to take the path less traveled. The reason it is less traveled is that it is often very difficult, yet know that you will never be alone. I know it may not make sense to take the path less traveled, but I assure you that the path less traveled has the greatest reward when reaching the final destination.

Because of His Grace ~ Pastor David

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