Why Pain is a Gift From God

by Jack Wellman · Print Print · Email Email

Why would someone believe that pain is a gift from God? In fact, there are several reasons that pain can help us.

Dependent upon God

Why would someone believe that pain is a gift from God? In fact, there are several reasons that pain can help us. When you’re in pain, and especially when there’s nothing you can do about it, all you have to turn to is God; but that’s just what He wanted in the first place. Whether it’s pain of a physical, mental, emotional nature (or all three!), all we can do is come to Christ. Our Lord tells one and He tells all, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matt 11:28). Do you feel totally spent or exhausted at times? Then come to Christ as He bids you, “Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matt 11:29). Do you feel like you’ve got a ton of burden on your shoulders which feel more like a yoke on an ox? Jesus says “my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matt 11:30). Your yoke is probably hard and likely heavy; His yoke lightens the load and it becomes less burdensome. That’s why we must come to Him and depend on Him when we can depend on no other. Allow that pain to drive you to His arms!

Cosmic Spankings

The Word of God comforts the afflicted but it also afflicts the comfortable. It meets us where we are! It’s the living, active, breathing Word of God and it cuts deep…but it cuts in order to heal. David wrote that afflictions served good purposes (Psalm 119:67-71). It brings us to repentance and brings us into a more intimate prayer life with the Father. Anything that brings us to repentance and increases our prayer life is a good thing, and we know this is what God desires. If we start to wander off into trouble, as sheep are prone to do, the Good Shepherd brings us back into the fold (Prov 23). Even though it’s painful, it’s necessary. If a person had no feelings in their body, they could run around on a broken leg or scald themselves creating a serious burn without even knowing it. Pain is a warning that somethings not right and we need to look inward to see the cause.

Discipline = Love

Ways To Show Love Without WordsAs a child, I remember this Bible verse’s truth which says, “No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening—it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way” (Heb 12:11). Only after my son was grown and became a father could he see that discipline is a blessing. It shows love. It didn’t feel like it at the time, but it surely was an act of love. Spanking hurt, but it kept me out of playing in the street, which in turn, kept me alive to reach adulthood! Discipline is an act of love, not anger (Heb 12:9-10). The discipline of God is for our good and shows His deep love for us. The opposite of love is not hate…it is indifference or apathy.

Keeps us Humble

It’s really hard to be arrogant or proud when you’re in pain. Pain tends to humble us or bring us to our knees. It makes us seek God in prayer more often and even asking prayer from the other saints. Since God is opposed to the proud and gives His grace only to the humble (James 4:6), if we become too full of ourselves, then God may allow something to humble us. Either we humble ourselves voluntarily…or God may have to do it for us. You can guess which would be more painful. If we humble ourselves under His mighty hand (1 Pet 5:6-7), He won’t have to do it for us! And it will likely be the hard way…so pain can and should humble us and make us feel no better than others. This is just what the Bible teaches, and in fact, we are to esteem others even better than ourselves (Phil 2:3-11).

You must not give up on your Lord; He knows your suffering …

Good to be Afflicted

The man who ignored his pain for 24 hours died in a local hospital. He had a burst appendix. That pain was a warning sign that he needed help. Pain is like the engine light that comes on when your car is having problems. It warns you before serious damage can occur. Chest pains have saved millions of lives by avoiding victims avoid a heart attack as they sought out medical help. Likewise, the psalmist wrote, “It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I might learn your statutes” (Psalm 119:71). Really!? It is good to be afflicted? The psalmist saw pain as a helpmate. For example, he wrote, “Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep your word” (Psalm 119:67).  Before he was afflicted, he (and we) had went astray (sinned!), but the affliction brought him back to the right path (Psalm 119:105). Our pain drives us to our knees to pray…drives us to His Word to read, and helps us learn the hard way that we must obey. Pain is a gift from God that keeps us alive and prevents us from having any unconfessed sin.


We know that everything that happens in our lives is allowed by God for our ultimate good (Rom 8:28). We can learn to trust Him and have faith when we can’t figure out why we’re in such pain. If it does nothing less than bring us to Him in prayer and we run to the Scriptures for comfort, the pain has done its work. No pain is ever wasted. Trust God even when nothing else makes sense. He is the Master Potter. As clay vessels, let us yield to life’s situations, whatever they may be, and trust in the work of His hands. These trials and tribulations mean to do us good, even in the worst of circumstances (Gen 50:20; Luke 9:22). If you have not yet trusted in Christ, save yourself some eternal pain and repent of your sins and put your trust in Christ. Whoever trusts in Him will see a pain-free eternity. I don’t promise you that…God does (Rev 21:1-5).

Here is some related reading for you: How to Thank God For Your Sorrows and Problems

Resource – Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), Crossway Bibles. (2007). ESV: Study Bible: English standard version. Wheaton, Ill: Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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