Sunday, February 27, 2005

Pain Re-visited

I appreciate what Darin said in comments on my post on God identifying with our pain and suffering. In this life we never leave the process of polishing that God is doing in our lives. We do not always escape pain or suffering as children of God, however, we understand better the why of our suffering and pain. We identify with our Lord in suffering, He is our example in all things concerning life. Peter says in 1Peter 2:19, "For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully. 20 For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? But if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God. 21 For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:". Is it not obvious that we may suffer in life as did Christ? We should not come to God, through Christ, just to be relieved of pain and suffering, but to escape the penalty for sin that separates us from God. Sin will be with us in this world until Christ returns, for not all people will yield to the gospel and those that do are not always without sins. The effects of sin in the world will continue to cause pain and suffering in man's experience.

The cause of pain and suffering is sin, this is why Jesus came into man's life, in the flesh as a man, in order to show us the way of salvation. God, through Christ, dwelt among us and experienced the flesh life, as a perfect man, to teach us how man should live by belief in God and how to be obedient to God's Word. He then became the offering for sin that we needed. Sin is forgiven when we yield to God's love, through belief in Christ and then are obedient to His Word.
As the realization of this becomes clear, we should see that even as a believer we may still suffer for the sin of our previous lifestyle. The effects of sin, in the life and body, can cause us pain and suffering for the rest of our life. God may remove the effects of sin in our life and He may not; He will forgive our sins and may heal their effects. God's love for us is to teach us through all experiences of life and that includes the part of our life before we came to Christ. Think of a convert to Christ who was an alcoholic or illegal drug user prior to salvation. God may heal the effects of the use and abuse of these substances in the new converts body or may not depending on how He sees it working for good in that believer's life. The important thing here is that the believer is saved and will see God in eternity! Our life here, whether short or long, is not the important aspect of salvation. To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord, "2Co 5:6 Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: 7 (For we walk by faith, not by sight:) 8 We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord. 9 Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him."

So, pain and suffering are with us in life and will continue in its many forms as long as we live on this side of eternity. However, as Christians we see through pain and suffering with the eyes of faith fixed on Christ. Read chapter 11 of Hebrews to see faith in operation in the lives of believers and how suffering and pain was experienced by all. Also read the Acts of the Apostles for more insight. May the glory be to God!
Now I want you to give me some input on how I am using this blog. I want this forum to be a two way street. As an example, I would like to know if discussions of issues in Christian living that may involve interpretation beyond a 'thus saith the Lord quote' are welcome in this blog. I primarily want to be a witness of the gospel of Christ, but to do this without a lot of the opinions of men. I am open to your suggestions as we seek the truth in Christ, from the Word of God. There are also too many variations in the interpretation of God's Word by various Christian faiths to discuss here. I do not want a 'they say' or 'we say' type of interchange. I want deeply for those who do not know Christ to come to the knowledge of Him. I want to support all believers that do know Him served just as fervently.

Also I hope that you will join me and continue to pray for Terri Schaivo. Check the post and the links on it for more information. We are to pray for and defend the weak and defenseless. Euthanasia and abortion are contrary to God's Word. I know that these issues are debated endlessly, but the Word tells me that life is precious to God; He even takes note of the sparrows fall in death. Let us pray for those who cannot speak for themselves.

Yours in Christ, Truthseeker.