The Discipline of Pain

There are many different ways we can think about our spiritual growth. We can focus on the disciplines needed to deepen our understanding of and connection to God. We can consider the journey by stages and describe each step with clear characteristics. But any discussion on spiritual growth involves the subject of pain.

Pain is a universal human reality and a key component of our spiritual development. Scripture tells us that God allows pain in our lives for many different reasons: as discipline (Heb. 12); to unify the body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:26); to build empathy (2 Cor. 1:3–8); to drive us to dependency (Ps. 34:18); to give voice to the gospel and glory to God (1 Peter 4). Jesus’ suffering was unique, serving as the only sacrifice that God accepts as payment for sin (Heb. 9:26). But we may be called to follow His example and suffer for Jesus’ sake. In such cases, suffering is not a sacrifice for sin but an expression of love for God and a demonstration of our faith (Phil. 1:29).

By chapter 2, Job and his wife have already endured unspeakable pain (see Job 1). They had no time to recover from the traumatic loss, when Satan asked God for another opportunity to test Job—by striking his bones and flesh. God agreed, and Job’s body was afflicted with painful sores. He sat, scraping the blisters with broken pottery.

This was too much for Job’s wife. Rather than supporting Job, she added to his problems. She chided him about his faithfulness to the Lord and challenged him to curse God and die. Job called her suggestion foolish and held to his faith (v. 10).

It’s possible to come through pain stronger and wiser and more compassionate, loving God and others more deeply than we did before. If you are moving through pain, seek the support you need to navigate with grace. Ask God for the wisdom to come alongside those in your life who are facing pain.

Published by Intentional Faith

Devoted to a Faith that Thinks

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