The Purpose of Pain

3 And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.
Romans 5: 3-5

Simply put, I would say the purpose of pain is to indicate that something is wrong. When my finger hurts, the pain tells me that I need to take my finger off the stove. God designed our bodies that way. Pains in LIFE indicate something is wrong too, with the world. It’s affected by sin. But, God doesn’t STOP it. He ALLOWS it, sometimes even SENDS it. Ask Job.

A friend’s recent e-mail contained the following: “When GOD solves your problems, you have faith in HIS abilities. When GOD doesn’t solve your problems HE has faith in your abilities.” I would add the qualifier, “He has faith in your abilities,” PUT there by His “training” and His Holy Spirit.

Romans 5:3-5, talks of “exulting in our tribulations,” because they bring about certain thinking, which results in certain behaviors and HOPE.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s  devotional, “God is on the Cross,” says “In suffering, the deliverance consists in our being allowed to put the matter out of our own hands into God’s hands”

Job never did get an exact answer to the WHY of his suffering but he learned much from it that wouldn’t have been learned without it. To me, the story of the silversmith gives understanding and hope, though many answers are still lacking. Malachi talks of the silversmith who sits over the fire while the silver is in it. If he doesn’t let the silver in the fire long enough, he won’t burn out all the impurities. If he lets the silver in the fire too long, he will ruin it and either way, it will be worthless to fashion into something of value to him.

So how does the smith know the silver is ready to come out of the fire? The silver is ready, when the smith sees his image in the silver.

Then He can fashion it into what He wants it to be. But first, He has to cause the heat, the pain, and what appears to be neglect; He has to cause all these things to work together for………well, you know.
~Lee Mielke


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