Thursday, April 19, 2012

Is God Punishing Me With Pain?

Over the past couple of months I've noticed a new symptom of pain, which has worsened greatly the last two weeks. I do not understand what is causing it or what to do about it. I am concerned that is somehow a progression of my widespread pain that doctors call central nervous system sensitization and it may become a long-term problem like my other areas of pain.

It seems more and more of my once normal life is being slowly "taken away". Honestly, it feels like more than I can bear! I've been tempted to think this pain might be a punishment from God due to past sins and that I'm just getting what I deserve.  There are people who believe this - that pain and various types of suffering are a direct punishment of our sins - but that is not what the Bible teaches.
"And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross." Colossians 2:13-14
Christ's death on the cross paid the debt of sin once and for all for those who trust Christ for their salvation. God is not up in heaven declaring cancer and earthquakes and job terminations to punish His children. The punishment is done - Christ bore God's wrath in our place. But sometimes God does allow and purpose suffering in the lives of His children as a means of discipline. Does that mean that every time you get the stomach flu or a tornado strikes that God is disciplining His children? No, I don't see that the Bible teaches that. But it does teach that God disciplines His children.
"And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons? "My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him. For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives." It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it." Hebrews 12:5-11
It would be unloving for me not to disciple my two year old when she disobeys. I want her to learn to honor her parents and love God and to obey what the Bible teaches. The discipline may be painful, but overall it is for her good. If God did not discipline us, we would not be his children and He would not love us. God is not against His children, He is always for us. And discipline is a means God uses for our good - to make us holy, righteous, and full of peace.

I do not know if my new pain is God's way of disciplining me. We sin multiple times a day, so I think we often do not know when hardship comes if it is discipline or the result of living in a fallen world. Either way, God's purpose in suffering is that we would "share His holiness" and grow to be more like Christ. We can take heart knowing that even in our worst pain, God loves us and Christ has taken our punishment. "There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." Romans 8:1

For more study on this topic read or listen to this challening sermon by Pastor John Piper


  1. This is a very difficult thing -- and I understand what you are going through all too well. I truly believe that while the Lord did not promise His elect a challenge-free existence, or a life without trials, He did promise in His word that His blood is sufficient to "heal all thy diseases." (Psalm 103). If You only order my steps, Lord... go before us, Holy God, and in Your loving mercy remove the cross of physical and emotional pain from our lives as we seek your face. Let our testimony be for YOUR GLORY - in Jesus' name, Amen.

  2. "Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's."(Psa 103:2-5)

    This passage when read in its context is referring to salvation and how the Lord heals us of all our greatest spiritual disease, sin. He will of course one day heal us from our physical diseases and pains in heaven, but this verse is not referring to that. This also cannot refer to present day physical healing because 1.) many of God's children, some of whom are following Him diligently, are still suffering on Earth if Ps 103:3 means that God heals us of all our diseases - then why are we still suffering? Did God's word lie? 2.) No where in God's word does it say that He has promised physical healing in this lifetime. In fact it says quite the opposite (Philippians 1:29, John 16:33, 1 Peter 4:12-13, 1 Peter 2:21 to name a few and of course just look at the life and ministry of Paul).

    I know this is a popular verse by many to "claim healing" by God so thanks for bringing it up. I will try to do a blogpost on this sometime. Blessings to you!

  3. To see so many Very Blessed men and women out there now that have met one another and have a family, really makes me very much believe that God is certainly punishing many of us men and women that would had wanted the same thing as well.