Pain in Perspective

 In Articles, Christian Living, Life Issues

The emotion behind music is what makes it so powerful. Being a more emotional person, I find myself gravitating towards different music depending on my mood. I will listen to some Jacob Collier, Novo Amor, and Cory Wong on rainy days; always Ben Rector, AJR, and Bryce Vine for happy days; Matthew Mole, The Script, and Kodaline when I’m feeling like a hopeless romantic; and Jon Bellion and Kings Kaleidoscope for everything else. 

I understand most people enjoy listening to music, but I especially enjoy listening to heartfelt music written from personal experiences. It makes the music more personal and it shows how much it means to the artist. For most artists, music is a way to express their feelings and emotions. A common theme in modern songs is love and heartbreak, and the overall concept of pain. This is what makes music so often relatable: it brings out the empathetic sides of ourselves. 

There are many things mankind shares, but what seems to be the most common of these are the problems of pain and suffering. Pain is a very general problem but the solution is quite the opposite. All of it boils down to perspective; when we feel the pain of this aching world, where do we go? 

Defining the Problem 

Pain and suffering all began with the fall of man in the Garden of Eden. Through Adam all mankind fell into the dark pit of sin itself, unwilling and unable to get himself out. When Jesus came to save us, He gave us a way to be redeemed by His blood, but not a way out of sin itself. We still are sinful – still broken, still suffering. Apart from a relationship with Christ, there will never be an end to this pain. 

Sometimes our afflictions come as God’s unexpected answer to our prayers. – Jon Bloom

There are many different types of pain in this fallen world. Pain can be stubbing your toe when you wake up. It can be feeling your back ache or experiencing soreness after a long day. It can be grieving and mourning the loss of a loved one. There is also mental and emotional pain like feeling lonely or brokenhearted which, according to C.S. Lewis in his book The Problem of Pain, is much worse. 

Mental pain is less dramatic than physical pain, but it is more common and also more hard to bear. The frequent attempt to conceal mental pain increases the burden: it is easier to say ‘My tooth is aching’ than to say ‘My heart is broken.’ Nonetheless, all of us experience, firsthand or secondhand, the tight grasp that pain has on our lives. It is a present evil that won’t go away until Jesus comes again. – C.S. Lewis (The Problem of Pain)

There are many ways the world combats this present evil. America is known for indulging itself in consumerism, smothering pain and suffering with whatever “joys” money can buy.  As Jon Bellion writes,

Tell ’em money is not the key to wealth / Cause if it can’t stop the pain / How did you explain the bunch of millionaires that killed themselves? – Jon Bellion

Most people cope with pain though addictions, whatever they may be. Addiction is always an attempt to fill the “Jesus shaped hole” in one’s heart. Others may find comfort in meditation or other things of the sort, but nothing truly cures the problem of pain. Nothing except Jesus. 

What Does God Have to Say? 

As Christians, Jesus tells us that life is not going to be easy and it will be full of pain and persecution. That is the aftermath of living zealously for Christ. Pain that comes as a result of radical obedience to the Word of God is to be expected and celebrated. The long lasting solution of pain is not some physical or mental treatment, but merely a change of perspective leading to a change of motive.  

Nothing changes the fact that pain will always exist and sin has a grip on our lives until our time on earth comes to an end. We need to realize pain isn’t something that can be cured; it is not something we can control. It is merely a constant in the human condition. But what we can control is our perspective of the matter. Pain is something that can and must be redeemed in order to glorify God. So how can we find redemption in the pain we experience? 

Finding Redemption from Pain

It has to be recognized that pain has a greater purpose than aimless suffering. It is for us to experience in order to go through trials and tribulation and find God through it all. We are called to endure suffering for the sake of Christ because He endured the worst of it all for us. There is joy in suffering. 

For what credit is it if, when you sin and are beaten for it, you endure? But if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God. For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. – 1 Peter 2:20-21

There is divine worth to our pain and suffering. Through enduring pain and suffering, we are glorifying God. By keeping our faith through tribulations, we are becoming living testimonies that Christ is worth it. He is worth all the pain and hardships this world has to offer. Jesus made the ultimate sacrifice for us, just to spend eternity with us, so it is our duty – out of love – to suffer in order to glorify God in our finite earthly lives. 

When our perspective changes about the way we view the role of pain in our lives, we find progress and joy. Progress and joy! We are furthering the kingdom of God by enduring the pain, and in our pain, when we turn to Christ to be our rock and our strength, we find a joy that will never fade. So endure. Endure your pain and suffering for Christ who endured the wrath of God for you. Run to God in your pain and suffering because there, and only there, is where you will find true joy through your pain.

God is not afraid to have things get worse before they get better. When times are darkest, God is ready to shine His brightest. – David Mathis

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