When You Wonder Why God Allows Pain

I think we have all wondered why God allows pain. It is normal, human. God recently used an experience to open my eyes to why this might be. 

Why God Allows Pain

Because of a knee reconstruction in my teens, I have some fairly severe arthritis in my left knee. It started about four or so years ago. After a multitude of doctor’s visits, we finally found something to control the pain just before we left Texas. 

And I had been virtually pain-free for about two years, just a few minor flare-ups here and there. This spring, I actually started to feel like I had a chance at making some sustainable healthy lifestyle changes (my girl Jen G at 7Core Wellness swears this is the way to go). I finally started to see the needle moving in the right direction on the scale (which is just a visual because of course, the numbers on mine are digital).

Why God Allows Pain
Why God Allows Pain

Then, without warning, my arthritis flared up and never calmed back down again. It took me three weeks of hobbling around to finally admit I needed to go see a doctor. After listening to the litany of over the counter and homeopathic treatments I had already tried, she gave me a consult to the orthopedic department.

Waiting For Relief

I was seen there quicker than I could have imagined and one look at the X-Rays confirmed my suspicions and made the surgeon question why I wasn’t in more pain. Without hesitation, he proscribed the injection. But when I asked how long the process would take, my hopes of a speedy return to regular workouts crumbled. 

Two months. 

At first, I thought it was one of those “deliver more than you promise” situations. But as I crossed days off the calendar, I realized they had been serious. I called the first week. And I called the second week. I checked with my insurance company. My desperation made me the squeaky wheel hoping to get the oil (or injection). 

Trying to Solve My Suffering on My Own

All the while I was trying new supplement combinations and treatments praying something would ease the pain. When you’re in pain you receive a lot of recommendations and suggestions from well-meaning friends. And I was so desperate I tried just about everything anyone recommended to relieve my discomfort.

And then it did.

Much to my surprise, I woke up one morning and could walk normally. I even started doing some light workouts. To my great delight, I walked the beach on vacation virtually pain-free. I was looking forward to hiking with my husband’s family at our reunion in Illinois last weekend.

But when the pain subsided, I stopped calling and pestering the orthopedic office for answers and updates. For a time, I even started to think maybe I didn’t need that injection after all. 

Why God Allows Pain
Why God Allows Pain

My comfort made me complacent.

I spent nearly six glorious weeks living my life. But then, right before the reunion, despite sticking to the strict regimen that had provided blissful relief, the clicking and sticking, the creaking and aching returned. At first, I was mad.

But then my determination returned with the pain. 

So, last Friday during the reuinion when I got a call from the orthopedic office saying my injection had finally been approved, but I needed to contact the specialty pharmacy and authorize shipment (I’m convinced now that I’m receiving in injection of liquid gold. What else could be so complicated?), I didn’t waste time getting to the bottom of the requirement.

I found a quiet room and made the call. And I waited on hold and talked to five different people on three separate phone calls. I asserted myself and stood strong when computer glitches and miscommunications had one representative tell me, “The order had been canceled.” Then, I called back after we got disconnected. I was like a bulldog running down my bone. Because despite my own best efforts, I knew I needed this injection to take away the pain (well, that and an eventual knee replacement, but they say I’m still too young). 

The Inconvenience of Pain

The next day as I complained to one of my husband’s uncles about how inconvenient this recurrence of my pain was, I realized it had been right on time. 

Had I still been enjoying relief from my discomfort, I wouldn’t have been nearly as desperate or assertive in getting to the bottom of the issue the previous evening. In all honesty, I might have even put off the phone call until we got home or later this week or even next. Which in all likelihood, I would have forgotten about, further delaying the process. In that case, my comfort would have delayed the cure. 

Comfort makes us complacent. 

I’ve found I tend to be like that in life, too.

It is all too easy to forget how much I need Jesus when all my needs are met. When there is no pain or suffering or desire, I can fool myself into thinking I can do this life on my own. When everything comes easy and without struggle, my mind tricks me into believing I’ve got this—whatever this may be. Sins I wrestle with. Habits I need to break. Words that need writing. Messes I’ve made. Relationships that need tending or mending. Valleys that need walking or mountains that need climbing. Forgiveness I need to offer or harder still ask for. 

If I didn’t suffer or struggle with any of this, I know I’d think I didn’t need Jesus.    

“…give me neither poverty nor riches;

but give me only my daily bread,

lest I be full and say, “Who is this Lord?”

or lest I be poor and steal and profane the name of my God.” 

Proverbs 30:8-9

God Fulfills Our Every Need

But when the pain is so intense it knocks me to my knees I realize it is only there where I find the fulfillment of my greatest need. 

Because the truth is, I can do nothing on my own.

I want to live my life like that bulldog after a bone. Desperate for the cure. Desperate for Jesus. Every minute of every hour of every day.  And maybe, just maybe, this is why God allows pain. Because He knows how deceitful and prideful our hearts can be thinking we can handle this life on our own. But He alone is the One who avenges, heals, redeems, provides, protects, comforts, cures, saves, and takes away all our pain. 

Whatever pain or hardship you are walking through today, I pray you would allow God to use it to draw you closer to Him. 

Dear Heavenly Father, Train our hearts to be grateful for the pain you allow us to endure. Draw us ever closer to you when we suffer, trusting you are the cure. By Your Holy Spirit, lead us to seek You first and always instead of trying to fix our messes on our own. Never allow our comfort to make us complacent. Make us desperate for You above all else. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

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Why God Allows Pain

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