by Bill Nugent
Imagine a man who never felt pain. He never felt the sting of disappointment or the grief of an ended relationship. He never felt a twinge of anxiety or a stressful moment or even the struggle to make a living. No pain. No physical pain, no mental pain, no emotional pain. Could such a man have even the faintest idea of what life is all about? Could such a man even say that he had lived?
We all learn from pain. Love involves pain. Learning to love means walking through greater or lessor degrees of pain. There’s separation anxiety and misunderstanding and disappointment and the grief of love lost. It’s all part of the path of love that leads to the exhilaration, joy and beauty of love fulfilled. Christianity gives the answer to the age old question of why there is pain.
Every picture is shades of light and dark. Without the dark the canvas would be nothing but white and would not communicate anything at all.
God created a world full of joy and pain. God created ….. I hesitate to use the word “created” …… He “allowed” pain. God allowed His beautiful creation to fall into sin and pain. Pain and death entered the world when the first man sinned and rebelled against God.
God allowed pain because without it we would never fully understand pain’s opposite. Without pain we would never understand love, joy and peace. Without pain we could not know God fully.
When pain has finished teaching us its many lessons there is an end of pain. The Bible speaks of the end of pain. The Bible teaches that we can turn to God and receive forgiveness and in the afterlife enter into His joy beyond the reach of pain. On the other hand we can hang on to our rejection of God and turn away from Him. We have a choice.
God respects us enough to give us a choice. He doesn’t force His love upon us. If we choose to reject God we enter a place of separation from God in the afterlife. It is a place that is separate from God’s joy and love.
God made the way back to Himself through Jesus Christ His Son. Jesus died for our sins. Jesus took God’s wrath — the pain — upon Himself so that we do not have to be punished for our sins. Jesus redeemed us. Jesus paid the penalty that we would have had to pay.
We can now turn to God and ask for forgiveness of our sins on the basis of Jesus’ death and resurrection on our behalf. When we have learned the lessons that pain has taught us in our brief earthly lives then we are ready to enjoy God’s love in greater depth than we ever dreamed possible. In heaven the joy lasts forever! “Enter thou into the joy of thy lord” (Matthew 25:21).