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Pain: The Great Motivator

"Dear brothers and sisters, whenever trouble comes your way, let it be an opportunity for joy. For when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be strong in character and ready for anything."1

Yesterday we noted that all pain is caused by the fact that we live in a broken, sinful world and pain will not be a thing of the past until the Lord Jesus returns and ends all pain for his true followers. In the meantime how do we live with personal pain?

Three of our close friends have been struggling with cancer recently. With different treatments plans they are trying, they have experienced many side effects and great physical pain. During times like this, most of us would ask, "Where is God when it hurts?" However, these friends have shown us the contrary and been such a great example of seeking God in the midst of pain and allowing God to fill us with His Holy Spirit... our great Comforter.

I don't want to sound over-simplistic, and I certainly don't claim to have all the answers, but for one thing pain is one of nature's way of letting us know that something is wrong and needs attention. Many of us never go to the doctor until we are in pain or have symptoms, so pain motivates us to seek help. It is a self-protective device. When a bone breaks, it hurts, If it didn't hurt, chances are we wouldn't take proper care of it and it wouldn't heal properly.

Without pain, life would be extremely hazardous. For instance, the first symptom of high cholesterol, which of itself causes no pain, can be sudden death by a heart attack. One of the dangers of leprosy is the loss of feeling and pain. A person with this disease hurts his foot, but because he feels no pain, he has nothing to remind him to protect his wounded limb. He hurts it again. And again. Still there's no pain. Eventually he loses his foot.

Thank God for this kind of pain. It's an impelling force to motivate us to take proper care of ourselves when we are hurting. It is also one of the most effective motivators (and perhaps the only motivator) to cause us to look at our humanness and cling to God when we have no strength or energy left. One of the worst things we can do with our pain is to ignore or deny it, and run from it. We need to accept and invest it; first in our own growth and maturity and then in supporting others who are going through the same or similar experiences.2

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please help me to understand the purpose of pain in my life and realize that you want to use it to help me grow and become a better person while Satan wants to use it to discourage me and make me bitter. Help me to choose the higher road and therein become a healthier and more mature person as well as an encourager of others who are experiencing pain. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."

1. James 1:2-4 (NLT).
2. Adapted from How to Mend a Broken Heart, by Dick Innes. Available from


All articles on this website are written by
Richard (Dick) Innes unless otherwise stated.