Last week, I talked about the minor pain of inconvenience, namely re-entry into my Realitytale after a fantasy vacation with my dream guy. Broken down cars and home renovations had me wishing for Tinkerbell to sprinkle fairy dust and take me back to the Magic Kingdom.
But I joke that these are my “first world problems.” Truly, they are minor when compared to the pain of people I talk to every day, or the pain of my past. Grieving hearts carry burdens of marital problems, rifts with children, financial ruin, and chronic health problems.
None of this pain comes from God’s original design. One the sixth day, when He said, “And it was very good,” there was not one reason for tears. But that state of perfection didn’t last long.
After the fall, pain was the new normal. A peaceful, perfect world turned chaotic and dangerous. But it’s like our redeemer God to bring life from death, and growth from suffering. The reason God inflicted consequences for disobedience is the same reason good parents do with their children—so that we will recognize our shortcoming and turn away from it.
The first good thing God brings out of pain is the opportunity for closer friendships to grow. Bonds form when people are working through a common obstacle, and when friends support each other during painful stretches of time, they become closer. We were created to be in communion with each other, but isolation leads to an unhealthy emotional state and poor choices.
Good friends, in turn, point us to the Word as our source of comfort and guidance. From the beginning of Genesis, the Word points us to Jesus. It is only with an in-depth study of the Bible (both testaments) that we come to know the true character of the long-prophesied Messiah, God-in-flesh, who came to give us life and commune with us forever.
It’s this dwelling with Jesus that we can catch a glimpse of the glory that is to come—an eternity without pain. No disease, death, or broken relationships. Until then, pain drives us closer to God and shows us our need for Him. We’re naturally bent to seek comfort because the earth was originally created without pain. Since then, humans have inflicted and been subjected to the most horrendous pain imaginable. It’s a daily reality of life on earth.
But here’s the good news: under the influence of the fall, we still have access to the Comforter. The problem of pain is only permanent if we turn away from Him instead of leaning into His people and digging into His Word.
Healing comes in layers. Pressing through to the end gives birth to a deeper understanding of Christ’s glory and a more intimate knowledge of His grace. Our stories then encourage those trekking behind us on the same rocky trail.
Until the day comes when we live in the comfort of perfect peace in a new heaven and earth, we cling to Jesus’ promise. “Blessed are they who mourn, for they will be comforted” (Matthew 5:4).
What ways have you sought and found comfort lately? How has God shown His glory and grace through the process?
Please continue the conversation in the comments.