The Gift of Pain

During a recent Bible study, we were discussing the “Fall of Man” (Genesis 3). As part of the consequences of Adam and Eve’s disobedience, God says, “. . . cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life; thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field” (Genesis 3:17b-18). That seemed a little curious to many of them, that this would be a particular consequence of their disobedience.

I asked, “Is pain a good thing or a bad thing?

Immediately someone said, “A bad thing.” Only a few seconds passed and someone else said, “A good thing.”

Together, we imagined what it would be like if we could not experience pain. It soon became apparent that pain was necessary to let us know that something is wrong and that pain itself was not the bad thing; it is the condition that causes the pain.

So what is the worst condition in which a person could find themselves? It is to be eternally alienated from the only source of life and goodness: the Creator. And that is just where Adam and Eve were; alienated from God. But God had altered his creation in order to remind not only Adam and Eve, but also their descendants, that they need him.

In Haggai 2:17 it reads, “‘I struck you and all the products of your toil with blight and with mildew and with hail, yet you did not turn to me,’ declares the Lord.”

When difficulty comes and disaster strikes, let it be a reminder of how much we need him, and then turn to him. “Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” Hebrews 4:16 (ESV).