How Can Pain Be Good?

pruning

PS 119.71 It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I might learn your statutes.

Pain bad.  Comfort good.  I don’t know about you, but when I smash my thumb with a hammer, my first impulse isn’t to jump for joy shouting, “Yes!  That felt great!  I think I’ll smash the other one!”  I don’t like to suffer.  I want an easy life.

Yet the author of Psalm 119 says it was good that he suffered.  Was he some kind of masochist?

He doesn’t say he enjoyed suffering, he says it is good for him that he suffered.

Looking back, he says of his experience, “It is good for me that I was afflicted.”  It is good for me (NOW) that I was afflicted (THEN).  In other words, at the time, I might not have thought the affliction was good, but I can see now that in reality it was good – I didn’t enjoy it, but it’s good that I went through it.  I have something in my life now that I wouldn’t have if I hadn’t suffered then.

Suffering drives us to the Word

He says it is good he was afflicted “that I might learn your statutes.”  Pain has a way of driving us to God’s Word.  A way of impelling us to trust and obey.  Impelling us to trust God’s promises and pray that he’ll fulfill them.  Impelling us to obey God’s commands and walk in his ways.

Affliction tutors us to believe God will provide, protect, revive, comfort and direct us.

Trouble instructs us to obey God’s commands to delight in him, to walk in his ways, to flee evil, and to do all he commands.

In the classroom of adversity we learn to cling to the truth of God’s steadfast and unchanging love and obey his statutes with fear and trembling.

Speak in the present tense

If the Psalmist can say, “It is good that I WAS afflicted” because his pain bore good fruit, then we should say, “It is good that I AM afflicted” – present tense – knowing the great Vine Dresser is pruning us today to produce fruit tomorrow.  Our loving Father is disciplining us as his children to produce the peaceful fruit of righteousness.

We don’t deny the reality of pain.  We can honestly say, “I’m suffering and it hurts a lot but it is good that I’m afflicted.   I’m grieving and oppressed, but it is good that I’m afflicted, because God is good.”

photo by Burwash Calligrapher

  • Devorah

    “because God is good”…. that’s good. Thanks for today’s post. It was really timely and encouraging! It’s always encouraging that God has plans for our pain. Now I’ll go be driven to God’s word =)!

    God bless you,

    Devorah =)

  • http://www.theblazingcenter.com Mark Altrogge

    Hi Devorah,

    Glad the Lord would encourage you…may he fill your heart with encouragement all week! Thanks for commenting!

  • http://tinyurl.com/delgadoj jason d.

    all i can say is a simple, AMEN!

    soli Deo gloria!

    jason d.

  • http://www.theblazingcenter.com Mark Altrogge

    and Amen, Jason!

  • http://www.worshipfulreader.blogspot.com Ron Reffett

    Hey Mark,
    I guess I am a little behind on my Blazing Center readings!
    What a great post, and so very true! While we go through the refiner’s fire, we may not be able to see the end result but we can definitely trust the hand that holds us to the flame. The end result is perfection, and we won’t see that until we reach eternity.
    Suffering is never something that we would choose, but it is one of the most useful tools that God uses in our lives to drive us closer to Him and to reflect the family likeness!
    Thanks for another encouraging post, I needed this one today!
    Blessings
    Ron Reffett

  • Jorge Bessa

    Great article! It persuade us to foresee the fruits our affliction might bore, and remeber me of 2 Corinthians 4:17 “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;”.

  • http://www.theblazingcenter.com Mark Altrogge

    Hi Ron,

    Your response is almost poetic – “While we go through the refiner’s fire, we may not be able to see the end result but we can definitely trust the hand that hold us to the flame.” Thanks for your great comments – again.

    Hey Jorge,

    Thank you for your comment – Amen! 2 CO 4:17 is one of my favorite verses!