MCDOWELL'S MUSINGS, METAPHORS, AND MESSAGES

PAIN

There are those who claim that to dread pain is a lack of faith. The blog below is written by my son-in-law Steven Preston who has recently been diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease.  [Posted in Caryn Preston’s Heavenly SonLight Bible Reading Discussions]  

“Dread ofPain is not a Lack of Faith”

One things our God never promised us is freedom from pain. Of course if we are talking about heaven then yes, there is freedom from pain (Revelation 21:4). There are so many things that would cause pain we could hardly avoid them all. Yet many think, even Christians, that a dread of pain is having a lack of faith in God. That thought is far from the truth.

Consider the example of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Being in Babylonian captivity, they remained faithful to God while at the same time being faithful in their duties to the king. In most instances we can do that still today; be faithful to God while still being faithful to our employer. And just as our first obligation is to obey God (Acts 5:29), so Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were obligated to disregard commands from the king when they conflicted with God.

The three friends ran in to such a conflict when the king had decreed that people worship the golden image that he had made (Daniel 3:1-12). Naturally these men could not rightly do as the king commanded and that landed them in a great amount of trouble. Being in a rage over their refusal to worship the golden image, the king commanded that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego be cast into the great fiery furnace. If you have ever been burned then you might begin to understand the pain these men had to look forward to.

The three men, being faithful to God, believed He would deliver them from the furnace: “If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king” (Daniel 3:17). At the same time they understood that God might actually chose not to deliver them from that great punishment. We can know they were dreading, or not looking forward to being cast into the furnace because they also told the king, “But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou has set up” (Daniel 3:18).

Not wanting to experience pain is not the same as having a lack of faith. I pray every day before work that God protects my wife while I am away from home. At the same time I realize that God may or may not grant my request. I pray that I drive safely and be attentive to what is going on around me as I drive. Yet accidents, and the pain they may cause, cannot always be avoided. If our heavenly Father actually kept us from experiencing pain, then we might become more careless in the daily activities of our life.

The apostle Paul had great faith in his God yet had suffered more physically than almost anybody else (2 Corinthians 11:23-27). Paul knew that he would experience pain and suffering during his life yet he continued boldly in his ministry. Just because you do not want to experience pain does not mean you lack faith in God. It simply means you are using the brains and the common sense that God gave you.