This past Sunday I preached on the purpose of pain. Let’s continue to explore this topic.
Pain and suffering are universal.
What I mean by this is that every human on earth will go through painful experiences. Every person who has ever lived has gone through periods of suffering. The particular type of pain I experience will be different, sometimes profoundly, from the particular type of pain you experience.
But the experience of pain is universal.
I believe the question we should be asking is not how we can better avoid pain, but how can we use the experience of pain to help others?
The apostle Paul speaks about this in his letter to the Corinthians:
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles…
-2 Corinthians 1:3-4a
I want you to notice the titles Paul gives to God.
The Father of compassion.
The God of all comfort.
Wow, these are encouraging ways to understand God!
When you are in pain, know that God has compassion for you. According to Merriam-Websters dictionary, compassion is the sympathetic concern of others’ distress together with a desire to alleviate it.
God, the Father of compassion, understands that we suffer, and God is deeply concerned with our suffering. God has compassion on us in our pain.
And the God of all comfort is going to do something about it!
Not only is God concerned with our suffering, but God is willing to comfort us in our pain. Notice what this verse doesn’t say. This verse doesn’t say that God is going to erase our sufferings. Instead, God is going to comfort us in our troubles.
When you are troubled, go to God, the God of all comfort, who has deep compassion for you.
There is a reason why God comforts us.
The verse continues…
…so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.
-2 Corinthians 1:4b
We are comforted by God so that we can use that sense of peace to comfort others who are going through similar struggles.
What a beautiful image!
Paul is encouraging us to use our pain for a greater purpose.
This doesn’t mean we have to enjoy our pain (who does?), but we can use it as we move in compassion towards others.
Are you in pain right now?
Go to God and seek comfort.
Do you know someone who is in pain right now?
Comfort them like God would comfort you.
We receive comfort from God. We use that feeling to comfort others. And the cycle continues.
This Sunday Pastor Dana will be preaching at Unity and I will be at Artisan Church for a baptism. That means that next Sunday I’ll preach on the purpose of pain part 2.