With a voice of desperation, I recently called my wife from church. “Please come and get me.” A pain was gripping my abdomen and it wouldn’t let go. I soon was in such great pain that I kept moving about the house in great agony. Finally, I realized the need to go to our local emergency room. What had caused such pain? A four millimeter kidney stone! Yes, something so small can cause such pain!
Pain is a universal experience. We enter into the world with pain and we exit this world with pain. Pain comes in many forms and levels of severity. We all know about physical pain, but there are also other kinds of pain. There is emotional pain, which can include depression, anxiety and sorrow. There is also social pain, which includes loneliness and rejection by others. Spiritual pain is often evident as we experience the effects of sin in our lives.
The Apostle Paul felt various kinds of pain in his life. How did Paul handle this pain? The Book of 2 Corinthians is Paul’s most autobiographical letter. In this letter, he opens up his heart concerning the pain he has experienced. However, he also shares how God ministered unto him in the midst of his pain. Let’s look at seven medications that Paul found to heal his pain.
1. The Medicine of God’s Salvation. “Grace be to you and peace from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.” (2 Corinthians 1:2) The greatest pain that every person has is the pain of sin. We may not always be aware of this pain. We may try to cover it up with activity, entertainment, and denial, but we still have a deep need for a relationship with God. This pain is an emptiness of heart. Paul understood the importance of God’s saving grace in his life. Paul tried to cover up his spiritual pain by persecuting believers and being self-righteous. However, when he met Jesus, he found instant healing of the pain he had in his soul. Have we ever experienced this healing in our lives?
2. The Medicine of God’s Comfort. “Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4)
A person in pain normally seeks comfort. During my bout with the kidney stone, I found many comforters, including my wife, my daughter, and the Emergency Room staff. Sometimes, we feel alone in our pain. No one seems to bring comfort to us. However, the God of all Comfort is with us. He desires to minister His comfort no matter what kind of pain we are facing. If we have emotional pain, He will give us His peace. If we have social pain, He will give us His presence. If we have physical pain, He will give us His strength to bear it. His arms are waiting to wrap themselves around us. Will we accept His comfort?
3. The Medicine God’s Faithfulness. “But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead: Who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver: in whom we trust that he will yet deliver us;” (2 Corinthians 1:9)
Pain has a way of taking away our self-sufficiency. As I was writhing in pain in the ER, I didn’t know any of the people who were attending me, but I completely entrusted myself to them. I knew that I needed them to do something with my pain. Likewise, we often become self-sufficient. God allows pain in our lives; so that we would become God-sufficient. Pain has a way of driving us to our Faithful God. Paul was close to a violent death; yet he discovered healing by trusting in His Faithful God who would never fail him.
4. The Medicine of God’s Promise. “For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven:” (2 Corinthians 5:1,2)
All of God’s promises have a healing balm to them. For example, the pain of death is the most severe pain we face in this life. Death separates us from our loved ones. Death will one day take a hold of us. However, we can find a cure for this pain in God’s promise of heaven. One day, we will have a life without pain, without tears and without death. When we focus on this great promise, and other promises of God, they give us hope in the midst of our pain.
5. The Medicine of God’s Love. “For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead:” (2 Corinthians 5:14). Love is a great medicine in our lives, especially when we are talking about God’s infinite love. Whatever pain we are facing, we know that God loves us and that He is walking with us through the pain. His loving plan will use the pain to draw us closer to Him.
6. The Medicine of God’s Grace and Strength. “And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:9, 10)
Pain weakens us. Pain paralyzes us. Pain dominates our thoughts. Where can we find strength in the midst of our sense of weakness and pain? Paul found his strength in the Almighty God! Pain creates a great sense of need. When I was in great pain in the ER, I needed something to get me through this pain. It came in the form of a powerful drug. God’s strength and grace are powerful. We find that God is greater than any pain. His grace will carry us through even the deepest heartache that we are experiencing.
7. The Medicine of God’s People. “Nevertheless God, that comforteth those that are cast down, comforted us by the coming of Titus;” (2 Corinthians 7:6) The feelings of depression, discouragement and heartache may not be physically painful, but they are spiritually and emotionally painful. God often chooses to heal us of these painful feelings by placing people in our lives who encourage us with their example, words, help, and presence. We often allow our pain to isolate us from the very people who God wants to use as His agents of healing. Will we allow pride to keep us from allowing others to administer healing to our pain?
Pain reveals a need. Yes, the medical professionals have medicines to help us with our physical pain, but what about the other kinds of pain that we experience. God has several types of medications that are made for our deepest pain, the pain of our soul. God’s medicine is available. God’s medicine is free. God’s medicine has only beneficial side-effects. However, God’s medicine is only effective if we take it. Will we?