Is God good? All the time. Yet, even our GOOD God experiences pain — your pain, my pain. Look at Isaiah 63:8: “For He said, ‘Surely they are My people…’ So He became their Savior. In all their affliction He was afflicted.…”
In Matthew 9:36 the Messiah felt the pain of those He came to save: “But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd.” The Greek verb for “moved with compassion” (splanchnizomai) means a deep emotion that can be felt physically in the pit of the stomach.
Why does the good Lord share in our pain? To comfort us and lead us to Himself.
Just as the Lord feels our pain for a greater, redeeming purpose, we too may experience others’ pain for the same purpose. Paul writes: “Praise be to …the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. 5 For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows. 6 If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer.” (2 Corinthians 1:3-6)
Here we discover three reasons why PAINFUL things happen to GOOD people — to produce comfort, salvation, and patient endurance.
Charles Spurgeon says: “If I were an orphan now, and needed a helper, I would seek one who had been an orphan in his youth, that he might sympathize with me. Were I houseless and poor, I would not go to the man who has rolled in wealth from earliest youth, but I would seek out the man who, like myself, has trodden with bare feet the cold pavement of the street at midnight; I would seek out the man who, penniless and poor, has begged his way from town to town, and then, by God’s providence, has worked himself up; for I could believe that such a one would have a heart to sympathize with me.”
Have you ever experienced ‘sympathy pains?’ When I had a heart attack several years ago, my wife Ann had chest pains. We often feel the hurt of those we love — emotionally, and sometimes physically.
When I was in the cardiology ward two special people visited me. Both testified that they had successfully recovered from serious heart issues. Because they had ‘walked in my shoes,’ they prayed passionately and intelligently. These two visitors didn’t waste their pain. Their suffering and eventual healing inspired me to rise up in faith and declare: “If God fixed their heart, he can fix mine too.”
Because I had almost no risk factors connected with heart disease my cardiologist said: “I’ve come to the conclusion that your heart attack was an accident.” Well, I’ve come to another conclusion: God allowed it to happen for a greater purpose.
Have you ever gone through a painful time that turned out for good? — not just your good, but others who were going through something similar. Tell us about it.