If God is Not In Control of Your Pain

One of the most difficult issues to address in the Christian life is the issue of suffering. Countless words have been devoted to the topic, but no matter how much is said, it never seems that the right words are found. There are too many kinds of pain, too many types of suffering, and too much sorrow in the world that is unable to be explained or comforted by any one book, sermon, or blog post.

What you tell the terminally ill cancer patient whose been given six months to live is different than what you tell the single mother with children who is struggling to make ends meet. The way you comfort a child who is being picked on at school doesn’t look the same as the way you comfort a young married couple that has just lost their third child in a miscarriage. The way you counsel a Syrian refugee who has lost everything at the hands of ISIS is not the same counsel you give a young man who has just been paralyzed from the waist down in an automobile accident.

Although there isn’t a book, sermon, or blog post that can single-handedly address each of these issues, I believe there is a certain sentence that applies to any kind of pain and suffering. There are seven words that, when viewed correctly through the lens of Scripture, can bring hope, peace, and purpose to any situation, no matter how severe. For the terminally ill cancer patient, for the lonely single mother, for the bullied child and the heartbroken couple, for the Syrian refugee and the paraplegic, you should know: God is in control of your pain.

There are several passages of Scripture that reveal this to us:

Many others could be cited, especially from Job, but the clear consensus of Scripture is that God is in fact sovereign over our pain. This truth is offensive to many, but it is a truth that you should want to embrace when faced with the alternatives.

If God is not in control of your pain:

I once had to take my daughter Lyla to get shots. I took her to the doctor against her will, held her down even though she tried to fight, and allowed a stranger to inflict pain on my child. Lyla screamed and looked at me with a very confused look wondering why I was subjecting her to this. She screamed and begged for me to make it stop, but I didn't. I held her there until it was over. I did this because I knew that the pain she was experiencing was for her own good. I knew the benefits of her receiving the vaccines would far outweigh the problems she might face later on if she were to forgo them. I did it because I loved my child. There was something good right on the other side of those shots that I was aware of, but she wasn't.

Paul understood this when he said that he "consider[ed] the sufferings of this present time not even worth being compared to the glory that is to be revealed to us" (Romans 8:18). There is something greater than your pain that is waiting for you on the other side of it. We don’t understand all of the specifics of how this works now, but we will one day. For now, we trust and we believe that God is who He says that He is: a loving Father who works to do good for His children (Matthew 7:11; Romans 8:28).