The Values of Pain

The lady wept, “I don’t like pain. I don’t like seeing others hurt. I just wish it could all go away.” No one could listen to such heartache and not feel deep compassion for this hurting woman. While no suffering is pleasant, suffering does have some value in our lives. God did not permit our suffering to be cruel or hateful toward us. The suffering of this world has some benefit. While it is not pleasant at the time, its lasting effects can bring valuable results.
1. It can help a person to know himself and what his character is. James saw the value of trials in helping to bring about patience and maturity in the Christian (James 1:2-4).
2. It can help one develop perseverance, the ability to stay with faith in spite of the trials. Tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance brings about proven character; proven character brings about hope; and hope does not disappoint (Romans 5:3-5).
3. It can help us be equipped to help others who suffer the same problems (2 Corinthians 1:3-5). No one knows better how to walk a mile than the person who has walked. One who has suffered and found comfort in God is uniquely able to help others who may suffer the same hurt.
4. Suffering teaches us compassion for others and the value of kindness in word and thought. Simple gestures of love and care can mean so much. We can’t avoid hurt or take away the hurts of others, but we can express love and show kindness, just as others have done for us.
5. Suffering can help us understand what really matters. The psalmist was becoming bitter at all the injustice in this world until he went into the sanctuary and remembered God (Psalm 73).
6. Knowing what is valuable also helps us to be thankful for what we have (Job 1:20-22). It is easy to take for granted all the good things God has given us and to forget how gracious He has been.
7. Suffering reminds us to remember God. We can easily forget who God is and what He has done. Suffering gets us back on track (Psalm 119:67,71). Yes, Romans 8:28 is still true.

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Phil Sanders

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