Bruce Collins, Evangelist

The personal website of Bruce Collins

Why is there Pain and Suffering?
“And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” (Revelation 21:4 NKJV)
I have missed the last several weeks of meditations because my wife had major back surgery at Mayo Clinic the first week in April.  I have had to be her nurse since she came home.  She was not to Bend, Lift, or Twist (BLT) for six weeks.  The pain that she had before her surgery was keeping her from enjoying life and from walking very far.  However, the pain that she had after coming home required an emergency room visit here at our local hospital.  It turns out that the Mayo doctors didn’t really properly provide sufficient pain medication.  After working with them and the local PA, we got the pain under control and she is slowly improving although she still has to take pain medication.  Because of this experience, I have had a lot of time to think about the above question.  Why is there such pain and suffering according to the Bible?
Pain and Sin
Pain and sorrow is first mentioned with regard to child birth and toiling in Genesis 3.  The Garden of Eden had been paradise but Satan (the adversary) who is very real convinced Adam and Eve to question God’s commands and to believe that they were “missing out” by doing what God had asked.  They broke one command and pain and sorrow came into the world.  I am convinced that pain and sorrow remind us of the reality of sin and its consequences.  
We only have to break one command to be in pain for eternity.  That command is the command to believe (or trust) in the Lord Jesus Christ.  Many people have many different reasons for violating that command.  But I  believe that God means what He said, when He said, “He who believes in Him (the Son) is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God (John 3:18 NKJV).”
The Pain of Job
I believe Job endured pain to prove to Satan that there are those who worship God for Who He is and not for what He can do for them in this life.  Job had been blessed with family, riches and health.  All were taken away from him and yet he did not condemn God for doing so.   God proved to Satan that there are faithful people that worship God in spite of the pain that they endure.  And sometimes it is pain that the people in pain don’t understand.  Often the pain is not because of bad choices.  Sometimes this pain is mental (depression and other mental illnesses) and sometimes this pain is physical.  But in any case Satan is always the source of pain. God should never be blamed for our pain even though He obviously allows it.  In some cases we should probably thank God for the fact that He is trusting us with a trial as a testimony to others and to Satan.
The Pain of the Cross
Isaiah says, “Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows;
Yet we esteemed Him stricken,
Smitten by God, and afflicted (Isaiah 53:4 NKJV).”
The Bible is clear that the Christ-rejecting sinner will spend eternity in a place of torment and punishment.  Christ was willing to bear the punishment that we deserve by experiencing grief and sorrow and torment on the cross.  He was bullied, He was mocked and He was crucified.  He did this because He says that is what we deserve, but He was willing to bear the pain and suffering that Satan brought into this world so that we could go free for all eternity.  His suffering on the cross does not keep us from enduring the pain and suffering of war and disease and rejection in this life.  But it will make it bearable when we realize that our Lord was willing to experience that pain so that we could be free from it for eternity.
Pain is never pleasant but any pain that we suffer now is temporary.  We know that for the believer, God is going to wipe away their tears.  Pain now reminds us of the reality of sin and Satan.  I know many people want to make  hell and the Lake of Fire symbolic and not real.  Some think we suffer hell now on earth.  But I hope that the teaching that the Lord gave us is not symbolic because we use symbols to explain things that we can’t clearly understand or explain.  If the truth of eternal conscious punishment is symbolic, then the real thing must be worse.  
Geneva’s pain has reminded me that Satan is real and that the Gospel is good news for those living in this sin-cursed world.  It has made me really glad to be able to say that I am a believer and that I have been spared from the condemnation of unbelievers.
I trust that those of you reading this are having a pain free day.  But if you are a believer and God has chosen you to endure pain, be thankful that it is temporary not eternal.  Be thankful that you can show your faithfulness to the Lord even while in pain.
Bruce Collins
Meditation for the weeks of April 2 through May 21, 2023

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