“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 (NIV)
I believe that God has allowed pain to exist in this world to help us recognize there is something wrong. Pain awakens us to the fact that things aren’t the way they are supposed to be. Pain helps us to see that there is a brokenness in our souls that needs fixed.
God permits pain (spiritual sickness - fallen nature - fallen world) as a means to stir us to our need to be fixed (healed) and to go Him, our Great Doctor.
C.S. Lewis said, “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”
Because of this truth, we can see God’s wisdom and care for allowing us to still experience pain in a fallen world. The good news is that, pain and suffering will not always be with us.
The reality is that while pain is still permitted, God challenges us to not to simply wish it away, but to seek Him more diligently in it and through it. He wants us to understand He has a purpose and a plan in the midst of our struggles and hurts.
Jesus is letting His disciples know that following Him in a fallen world is not a “get out of jail” card concerning pain, but that WHEN they encounter pain, not to be surprised by it, or let it stop their progress. He is communicating that a pain free life isn’t a peace filled life. Only when our lives are surrendered to Him can we experience peace, regardless if pain is present or not.
I hope you noticed two little, but powerful words - “Take heart!” Take heart is another way of saying, "don’t be afraid." Jesus says, “Take heart! I have overcome the world.”
Pain may hurt for moments, months, years or even a lifetime, but it doesn’t have to define us or determine our destinies. It is temporary (will only last for Jesus followers as long as this world lasts), and doesn’t have the power to destroy us. Jesus' death and resurrection took away pain's power to destroy us, but it didn't take away its ability to deceive us.
Satan wants to use the pain we experience to confuse us, and cause us to blame God and get angry at Him. But Jesus has better plans. He wants to use it for a deepening relationship and trust in Him and with Him.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank you for pain and its purpose to awaken me to my own brokeness. Help me in times of pain to seek you and ask for your leading and comfort. Give me the grace to walk through pain with You. Thank you for your faithfulness in my life in good times and bad. Amen!