Part #1 When God Ministers Pain
“If God is good, how can there be evil in the world?’ This question of the ages is referred to as “The Problem of Evil.” The question itself is excellent and complex. Through the next couple blog series, I will attempt to answer that very question.
The first thing to contemplate: “Are there times when pain can be to our benefit?” Or, a better accusation would be: “Can God Himself give us pain, which in turn would be to our benefit?” Then there are times when we just face the natural consequences of living in a sin-cursed world (which will be for a future article).
There are times when God punishes us for our sin. Sometimes He does that through natural consequences. He has set up a world which has natural consequences. It’s the “sow and reap” principal. What you plant is what you harvest.
Galatians 6:7 says, “Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap.” If you plant hard work, time into godly relationships, rest as God has called you to, you will harvest money, better relationships, and emotional well-being. If you sow evil you will reap the consequences of that labor. If we are harvesting evil, there are times it’s because we have planted evil.
Other times God directly ministers the pain. I use the phrase, “ministers the pain” very specifically – which I will soon explain. There are times when God Himself does not only allow it, but causes pain. This statement itself will cause some Christians to grab antacids, or maybe pitchforks and torches. But let’s think about this theologically and logically.
Could God Himself be causing pain, and still be good? Yes. Scripture says in Hebrews 12:6, “For the Lord DISCIPLINES the one He loves, and He CHASTISES every son He receives (emphasis mine).” This verse, with dozens of others, states that God Himself is causing the pain. He disciplines. He chastises. He is not just allowing these actions to happen to His children, He is causing it.
How can God be good and cause pain? Let’s ask the same question when it comes to parents and their children. If a small child continues to reach for a fire, if the parent lightly slaps their hand to stop them, would anyone say, “That parent is evil.” No, that would be foolish. We would say a light slap on the hand to prevent the child burning herself would be out of love, not evil.
It is the same with God. Sometimes God places pain into our lives, not because He is evil, but because He is good. The pain He may be inflicting may be keeping us from much greater pain down the road. Sometimes this is keeping us from greater earthly consequences. Sometimes this literally may be to keep us from an eternal flame-filled Hell, by using the pain to lead us to an eternal home with Him. Therefore, when God ministers pain in these areas, it may not only not be evil, it may be Him ministering grace to us for a greater good.
C.S. Lewis puts it this way in his book “The Problem of Pain:” “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pain; it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”
If you are a believer in Christ, are there times in your life when you have seen God use pain for your benefit, and His glory? Are there times He has “disciplined” or “chastised” you to bring you back or closer to Him? Or has He even used pain to call you to Himself overall? Have you received “the ministry of pain?”
Thanks for taking time to read this Maddening Theology post. If you enjoyed this content you can find Pastor Tim’s sermons at www.cornerstoneforestcity.org. You can also join us at 520 Marion St. Browndale, PA 18421 on Sundays at 10 AM. To make following the blog easier you can also register. You can also join us on Facebook at Cornerstone Forest City. Also, don’t forget to download our APP on iTunes or Googleplay.