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Discovery Magazine 2/1/2013

Ouch! Can You Do That Again?

Some people have trouble believing in God, because they do not understand how bad things, like pain, suffering, and tragedy, can happen to good people. If God is good and loving and can do anything because He is all-powerful, why doesn’t He stop bad things from happening? One of the answers to that question, which surprises many people, is that pain is not necessarily a “bad” thing. It can actually be good
 in its effect. It can be a blessing from God.

One of the things I love to do in the winter is to stare at the fire in my fireplace. Sometimes I wish I could touch it! If there were no pain, why couldn’t I? I wouldn’t get hurt, right? Well, I may not feel the pain, but I would probably lose a hand and could burn down the house. So we can see that the physical pain that God gives us can help keep us safe from danger.
How would we know what is dangerous without pain? How would we know not to get close to a cliff, if we didn’t know that falling down is painful? How would we know not to play with knives, if we didn’t know getting cut hurts? How would we know not to disobey our parents, if we didn’t know that spankings hurt? Physical pain can be very helpful.

What about mental pain? Have you ever been around spoiled children? They are not very fun to be around. They are clearly not happy. Have you thought about why they act the way they act? One reason often is that they have not suffered enough. They have not been told “No” when they want things, and they have not been disciplined when they should have been. So we can see that suffering actually makes us better people! Have you ever heard the phrase, “Too much sunshine makes a desert”? There has to be cloudy, rainy times, because too much Sun would kill everything good. The rain may not be as much fun to play outside in, but it is still a good thing for the Earth.

The Bible tells us that God allows and uses suffering to help make us better people so we can go to heaven (read Hebrews 12:5-11; Romans 5:3-5; 2 Corinthians 12:10). Pain does not prove God does not exist. It actually shows that He loves us and wants to help us become better, more mature, happier people.  The inspired writer James said: “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience” (James 1:2-3). So the next time you get hurt, thank God for pain!

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