Menu

alt

The Need for Meaning Even in Pain

Maybe I should say, "especially in pain." Meaning in life is essential.
Having meaning in pain is even more so.

Recently Joey and I took the opportunity to hear Dr. Jordan B. Peterson’s lecture on We Wrestle with God presented in Oklahoma City. Peterson is an author, clinical psychologist, online educator and Professor Emeritus at University of Toronto. The Jordan B. Peterson podcast frequently tops the charts in the Education category.

Though we could not video, record or tape the lecture, nor because it was so dark, could Joey even take notes, I came away with some insights to share with you.

When he was young, Peterson researched Communism and Nazism, finding man can do evil beyond our comprehension. He described a “spirit” intertwining with man forming a relationship to devise extreme torture.
Certain circumstances led to the German people accepting these atrocities, some that parallel today.
Only a few individuals spoke against it. One, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, lived true to his convictions.
Today all of us are quick to say we’d be one of those, but he concluded no one is exempt from performing these evils. 
He also equated their atrocities present in today’s families—illustrating with Dante’s Inferno.
No surprise there. The Bible says, The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked, who can know it? Jeremiah 17:9.

He then spoke of pain.
We can endure pain if it has meaning.
For example, a person will endure a lot of pain in service for others, because the pain holds a secondary aspect, the mission is more important than the pain.
Or a martyr will die in pain because the cause for which he dies is worth the pain.

The Nazis and Communists in their prison camps devised the ultimate torture—pain without meaning. Prisoners picked up rocks from one spot and moved them to another, only to return them the next day. Their pain had no meaning. It produced hopelessness.

(In applying this concept later, I thought of school children, who are given “busy-work” —work without meaning, not an accident.
Even coloring, when I tried to have my boys color in the coloring book, they resented the “fun”. They could extract no meaning. They thought it was torture. I stopped the busy-work in our curriculum.)

Allow me to elaborate on this concept of pain with meaning.
How does God give us meaning in pain?
Here are a few promises giving pain’s purpose:

Pain brings glory.
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. Romans 8:18.

Pain works for good.
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28.

Pain is not permanent.
He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away. Revelation 21:4.

Pain will bring Christ closer.
And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. I Peter 5:10.

Pain enables us to comfort others.
Who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 2 Corinthians 1:4.

Pain keeps us humble.
So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited.  2 Corinthians 12:7.

Pain brings purification.
So that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. I Peter 1:7.

Pain tests our faith.
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you, may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. James 1:2-4.

Pain brings obedience.
Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered. Hebrews 5:8.

Pain perfects.
For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering. Hebrews 2:10.

Pain brings rewards.
Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character and character produces hope. Romans 5:3-4.

If we endure, we will also reign with him, if we deny him, he also will deny us. 2 Timothy 2:12.

Pain brings the completion of the church.
Now I rejoice in my suffering for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church. Colossians 1:24. 

Pain is preparation for heaven.
So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:16-18.

Pain with a purpose. God made sure we understood that we must suffer. But it would be worth it.
But notice in all those verses, that we don’t work to “figure out the reason.”
We mistakenly think, “If we learn the why, the pain will stop and we can get back to ‘normal’ living.”
That’s not a promise God gives. 
In fact, we may never understand why we have a particular pain.
But God does promise His presence through the pain and that it’s worth it.
And so, we’ve again seen that element of trust Him when you can’t see.
A trust that proves our anchor holds through the storm.
What a great God we serve!

I write about what matters...to you---
women, wives and moms---
about your family, faith and future.
I write about what's hard, what helps and what heals.
I show you how it's done. And not done.
I hold your hand as you find what matters to the Savior.
And let go of those things that mattered to you, but not to Him.
I write about what matters...to Him.
               Sonya Contreras


No comments found

Author of Biblical fiction, married to my best friend, and challenged by eight sons’ growing pains as I write about what matters.

Receive weekly articles by giving your email address below:

Faith
Find more articles about faith here:
How Miserable Are You? Are You Happy?
The Need for Meaning Even in Pain
Reminders of What's Important
God's Unmeasurable Love
A Quarter of a Century Spent for Our Country
What Were You Thinking?
Who Are You Watching?
Boundaries for a Better Life
God's Boundaries
Memories of a Hero Mom
The Ripple Effect
How Do We Think Like Jesus
Litany of a Waiting Woman
Ever Cook a Frog?
New Year's Reminders
They Galled Her Gammy
When God Speaks
A Russian Christmas Story
Be Thankful
Be Grateful
Are You Tired of the Same, Old Thing?
  (reprint)
Laughter—Why Laugh?
Mom
Are You Disturbed?
Unity of the Brothers
Encouragements To Declutter
Do You Have Too Much Stuff?
Too Much Stress
Getting Past the Noise—The Value of Silence
Are You Scatterbrained?
How Good Are You?
Looking for Something Good To Read?
A Cup of Cold Water
I Will Trust When I Cannot See
Encouragement—What Is It?
Being in God's Presence
"Einstein and the Professor"
When God Is Silent
Do You Crave Beauty?
Using Stories to Discipline
The Danger of the Wrong Story
Using Stories to Teach Lessons
God is in charge of the future
November Dare Joy Challenge
Ungratefulness
Developing an Attitude of Gratitude
Looking for Jesus
What Do Your Prayers Reflect?
Life's Little Pleasures
Daniel—Greatly Loved by God
Take Every Thought
Jars of Clay
What Do Your Words Reveal about Your Heart?
How Do You Get Strong Faith?
Too Busy for God's Word?
How Do You Think Like Jesus?
Reflections from a Mom
Pain—What's It Good For?
Why Marry?
Consider the Robin
One Life Who Made a Difference
What Day Are You Living In?
Interrupted by God
Is Jesus Really the Answer to Everything?
Are You Beat Up?
What's Your Hurry?
Are You a Manipulator?
Are You Salty?
Are You Condemned?
Trying to Understand?
Do You Expect Answers to Your Prayers?
Do You Eat Your Stress?
Need Focus?
Going through Trouble?
Immanuel—God with Us
Looking for a Relationship?
When God Says, "No!"
What Do You Do with Left-Overs?
How Great Is Your God?
Are You Needy?
How Do You See Sin?
What Do Your Words Mean?
Is Evil Overwhelming You?
Those Aha Moments
Is Your Soul Happy?
Are You Ignored?
Looking for the God Moment
Do You Know Truth from Almost Truth?
I Believe in Jesus—What Now?
Do You Have Your "Son"-Glasses On?
Less Is More
Singing His Praise
Are You Trying To Do It All?
What Do You Do with All These Prayer Requests?
Have a Problem?
Do You Know How to Pray?
Looking for God in Every Moment
Are You Receptive to God's Blessings?
Tell the Senate: Mothers Aren't Birthing People
Is Your Life Complicated?
How Do We Fight Evil?
Fearfully and Wonderfully Made
Giving Up or Taking Away
the Bible is simple
Are You a Dripping Faucet?
What's Your Testimony?
The Final Move
Be Careful What You Wish For!
Are Your Prayers Answered?
I Choose Joy
What Have You Learned from Your Hardship?
Who Are You Trying to Change?
What's Your Five-Year Plan?
The Danger of "Aloneness"
My Colors
Are You a Whiner?
Are Your Works Approved?
Do You Think You're Stressed?
Is Your Soul Feeling Ragged?
God Speaks to the Heart of the King
What about the Details?
Have You Felt the Long-Suffering of God?
How Does God Lead You?
Do You Have Enough?
Don't Carry More than You Need
Cast the Seed
God Is Faithful
Are You Deceived?
Are You Essential?
Are You Safe?
Are You Tired of the Same Old Thing?
Does the World Make Sense?
Have You Seen God's Majesty?
Do You Feel Judged?
If You Only Had One More Day To Live
Are You Understood?
Do You Long for the Word of God?
Slow Down and Smell the Dead Leaves
Are You Hospitable?
Our Heritage Is Bought by Blood
Are You Disturbed?
Are You Depressed?
I Did It My Way
Finding the Simple Life with Meaning
The Simple Life
Do You Have the Right Words?
Did Your Dream Die?
On the Other Side of the Fence
Marijuana, Mental Illness, and Violence
Confessions of a Desperate Mom
Saving for Tomorrow
A Wedding Remembered
Who Will Stand in the Gap?
Are You a Protector or a Ruler?
Who Are You?
Are You an Image Bearer or a Wad of Cells?
Are You a Watchman?
Where Do You Find Meaning?
The Lamb of God as Told by a Scribe
What Love Is This?
Remember: The Symbols of Passover Explained
Tea and Rest
Do You Have Peace?
What Makes a Marriage Work?
When Life Is Awful
Are You Strong Enough?
Rules
Seasons
Be Faithful through Suffering
Do You Know the Word?
Wake Up! Strengthen What Remains
Are You Spit in God's Mouth?
Is Jezebel in Your Midst?
Do You Stand Against Satan Himself?
Are You Tired of Being a Mom?
What in the World Is Happening?
It's Not My Story
How Would Your Faith Compare?
Are You Sinking?
Are You a Rule Follower?
Useful for Him
An Intimate Moment with Mary
The Worldview that Makes the
   Underclass

Thoughts to Ponder
What Does It Take To Know the
    Heart of God?

See the Story in the Stars
Do the Scriptures Burn You?
Being in His Presence
Contentment: It's Not for the Timid
How Secure Are You?
How Do You Respond To Stupid People?
The Earthworm Is My Hero
Heart Issues or Issues of the Heart
Things Aren't Always What They Seem
More faith articles are found here:
alt
under the Table of Contents. Also available in book form.
Or here:
alt
under the Table of Contents. Also available in book form.
Articles on Suffering can be found  here, 
alt
under Table of Contents. Also available in book form.
Special Days
Remember: The Symbols of 
   Passover Explained
    

Aug 12, 2017 The Heavens Declare the Glory of God
July 4th, Freedom
What Is an American Soldier?
Valentine's Day: A Day of Love?
Memorial Day-A Day To Remember
Veterans' Day-To Honor Our Men
Fall Colors
First Thanksgiving Day
    Proclamation

Christmas: Stories behind the Songs
Christmas: Stories behind the Songs, part 2