Is Pain a Sign of God’s Love?
by: William C. Brownson
Question: If a person goes through a lot of pain in their life, are they loved by the Lord? (from Wisconsin)
Answer: When we experience pain a number of things may be happening. There may be injury or illness; perhaps the carelessness or hostility of other people; there may be demonic pressures. But while these explain a part of our suffering, they don’t exhaust its meaning. God is also at work in his redeeming purpose. God is always seeking to conform us more and more to Jesus Christ. In that sense, our suffering may be a sign of his gracious purpose.
However, this reality is only discerned by faith. It is a truth only God can show us. It does no good to tell someone in pain, “God is sending this to you because he loves you.” People in such circumstances may cry out, “I wish then he wouldn’t love me so much!” People need time and reflection before they can affirm something like this for themselves.
We need to move beyond the idea that our present circumstances are the measure of God’s love for us. Whether in plenty or want, health or sickness, pain or joy, God’s love endures unchanging. We are assured of his love by what God has done for us in Christ. Jesus crucified for us and risen from the dead is the supreme, abiding proof of God’s love.