Nearly one in five (7.5 million!) seniors take medication for chronic pain, according to a 1997 survey conducted for The National Council on the Aging (NCOA) by Louis Harris & Associates. An estimated 35 to 50 million Americans suffer from nonmalignant chronic pain. 

What does the Bible say about...

PAIN & Suffering
A Study in the Scriptures

Copyright 2002 Diane S. Dew

I.    The origin of pain

            A.    Pain is the result of the fall.

                        Genesis 3:16 "Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children"

            B.    The source of pain is Satan.

                        Revelation 9:10, 19

            C.    All of creation groans until the Lord returns, for then it will be re-made and released into the fullness of God's original design, which was destroyed by sin.

                        Romans 8:22 "For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now."

            D.    The end of pain will be found in heaven.

                        1 Peter 5:10 " But the God of all grace, ... after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you"

                        Isaiah 11:9 " They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain...."

                        Isaiah 65:25 " The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, and the lion shall eat straw like the bullock: and dust shall be as the serpent's meat. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain, saith the LORD."

                        Romans 8:18

                        Revelation 21:4 "And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away."


II.    Scripture well describes the excruciating agony experienced by those enduring pain - whether acute or chronic, incurable or temporary.

                        Psalms 116:3 "The sorrows of death compassed me, and the pains of hell gat hold upon me: I found trouble and sorrow."

                        Jeremiah 10:19 "Woe is me for my hurt! my wound is grievous: but I said, Truly this [is] a grief, and I must bear it."

                        Jeremiah 4:19 " My bowels, my bowels! I am pained at my very heart; my heart maketh a noise in me; I cannot hold my peace..."

                        Revelation 16:10 "And the fifth angel poured out his vial upon the seat of the beast; and his kingdom was full of darkness; and they gnawed their tongues for pain"

        A.    Incurable pain tempted Jeremiah to doubt the character of God.

                        Jeremiah 15:18 "Why is my pain perpetual, and my wound incurable, [which] refuseth to be healed? wilt thou be altogether unto me as a liar, [and as] waters [that] fail?

        B.    Job described deep bone pain.

                        Job 33:19 "He is chastened also with pain upon his bed, and the multitude of his bones with strong pain."

        C.    Isaiah described pain in the loins.    

                        Isaiah 21:13 "Therefore are my loins filled with pain: pangs have taken hold upon me, as the pangs of a woman that travaileth: I was bowed down..."

                        Jeremiah 4:19

        D.    The psalmist described pain in the heart.

                      Psalms 55:4 "My heart is sore pained within me; and the terrors of death are fallen upon me." 

        E.    Many describe the pain of childbirth.

                        Isaiah 26:17 "Like as a woman with child, that draweth near the time of her delivery, is in pain, and crieth out in her pangs..." (Cp. Genesis 3:16; 1 Samuel 4:19; Psalms 48:6; Isaiah 13:8; 66:7; Jeremiah 22:23; Micah 4:10; Revelation 12:2)

        F.    Jeremiah described severe bowel and eart pain.

Jeremiah 4:19 " My bowels, my bowels! I am pained at my very heart; my heart maketh a noise in me; I cannot hold my peace..."    

III.    Many deny that suffering could possibly be God's will for believers. (The wicked are expected to suffer for their sins: Job 15:20; Jeremiah 30;23, etc.). Some claim that perfect health today is included in the atonement. Obviously, it's not, as many who love and serve God get sick and die. In fact, "ALL"do! (Hebrews 9:27) Their claims are based on verses like Acts 2:24, Christ has already" loosed the pains of death.") However, experience and Scripture indicate that we still must endure pain, and die, etc. - that we have not yet entered in (experientially) to the fullness of the resurrected life - just as none of us yet walk in perfect victory over sin (and are wrong, if we claim to, according to 1 John). All of creation has not yet been set free yet, either (animals still fight), etc. 

                        1 Peter 3:17
                        1 Peter 4:19 "Those who suffer according to God's will..."

        A.    Believers must experience pain and suffering. Note the word "must" in the following verses:

                Acts 9:16 "must"
                Acts 14:22 "must"
                2 Corinthians 11:27 "In weariness and painfulness, ...in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness."
                Philippians 1:29 "must"
                1 Thessalonians 3:4 "must"
                2 Timothy 3:12 "Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution."

        B.    Many Old and New Testament people of God experienced pain and suffering. They were imprisoned, beheaded, tortured. (See Hebrews 11, the so-called "faith chapter"). They were not failures, but men of FAITH, "of whom the world was not worthy." Following are some examples of New Testament believers who experienced pain and illness:

                1.    Timothy still had stomach ailments and "frequent illnesses" even after Paul's visit to him. In fact, Paul speaks of his "often infirmities."

                                1 Timothy 5:23 "Drink no longer water, but use a little wine for thy stomach's sake and thine often infirmities."

                2.    Epaphroditus nearly died in the ministry because of his physical problems.

                                Philippians 2:25-30 "Epaphroditus... was full of heaviness, because that ye had heard that he had been sick. For indeed he was sick nigh unto death: but God had mercy on him... for the work of Christ he was nigh unto death"

                3.    Paul left Trophimus sick at Miletum.

                                2 Timothy 4:20 "Erastus abode at Corinth: but Trophimus have I left at Miletum sick."

                4.    The apostle Paul himself (as well as many other first-century believers, Hebrews 11 and 13:3) endured great physical suffering and pain.

                                Acts 9:10
                                Acts 9:16 "For I will shew him (Paul) how great things he must suffer..."
                                2 Corinthians 11:25 "Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned..."

                5.    The life of Jesus required, according to the will of God, great pain and suffering. (Note the word "must" in each of the following - and other - verses.)

                                Matthew 16:21 
                                Mark 5:6; 8:31; 9:12 
                                Luke 9:22
                                Acts 17:3 
                                Acts 26:23

        C.    Thus, suffering and pain clearly are NOT an indication of spiritual weakness. Suffering is a GIFT entrusted to us, to sharpen our focus, etc.

                        Philippians 1:29 "For unto you it is given... not only 1) to believe on him, but also 2) to suffer for his sake." 

        D.   "Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example..." (1 Peter 2:21)

                                Hebrews 2:9, 10; 5:8; 9:26; 13:12
                                1 Peter 1:11; 2:9-10, 21, 23; 3:18; 4:1
                                Luke 17:25; 24:26, 46
                                Acts 3:18
                                2 Corinthians 1:5

                 1.    Jesus experienced pain personally - i.e., he was fully human

                                Hebrews 2:18

                2.    He felt compassion for the hurting and healed them.

                3.    Even though Jesus himself "healed many" (Mark 1:34) - including one who had previously "suffered many things of many physicians, and had spent all that she had, ...but rather grew worse" (Mark 5:26) - not all believers today experience perfect health and healing. (Many DO, however through prayer and faith! See http://www.dianedew.com/healing.htm )         

 
IV.    Our perspective on the situation is important.

        A.    God is in charge. He has a purpose in affliction. (See http://www.dianedew.com/afflict.htm )

                            1 Peter 5:10 " But the God of all grace, ... after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you"

               1.    Limitations set by God.

                                        Job chapters 1 and 2
                                        1 Corinthians 10:13
                                        Revelation 9:4

               2.    God delivers from.

                                        Psalms 144:10

                3.    God protects from.

                                        Daniel 3:25; 6:22
                                        Acts 18:10

                4.    Therefore, if it's happening, he's allowed it - and aware! It's not more than we can handle!

                                        1 Corinthians 10:13 "There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it."

        B.    Our perspective will affect our attitude and reaction - whether we bring glory to his name - or shame. If we patiently endure, God is pleased (1 Pet 2:20).

       1.    Worship and glorify God in the midst of it.

                                Job chapters 1 and 2
                                1 Peter 4:16 "Yet if any man suffer... let him glorify God on this behalf."

                2.    Rejoice

                                Acts 5:41
                                Colossians 1:24
                                1 Peter 4:13 "But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy."

                 3.    Be content in it.

                                Romans 8:18 "For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time [are] not worthy [to be compared] with the glory which shall be revealed in us."
                                Philippians 4:12

                4.    Do not fear.

                                Revelation 2:10 "For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time [are] not worthy [to be compared] with the glory which shall be revealed in us."

                5.    See it as a blessing.

                                1 Peter 3:14

                6.    Reactions in Scripture to pain and suffering varied considerably.

                        a.    Cursing.

                                        Revelation 16:11 " Rev 16:11 And blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, and repented not of their deeds." 

                        b.    Worship.

                                            Job 1 or 2

                        c.    Doubt.

                                        Jeremiah 15:18 "Why is my pain perpetual, and my wound incurable, [which] refuseth to be healed? wilt thou be altogether unto me as a liar, [and as] waters [that] fail?"

                7.    Submit to the sovereignty of God.

V.    Scripture can provide great comfort in our affliction.

        A.    By trusting God.

                        Psalms 55:22 "Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee..."
                        Psalms 121:3
                        1 Peter 4:19 "Those who suffer according to God's will..."

        B.    Through the comfort of others who have suffered.

                        2 Corinthians 1

VI.    The spiritual benefits of victoriously enduring pain and suffering.

            A.    Maturity

                        1 Peter 5:10 " But the God of all grace, ... after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you"

                        Hebrews 2:10

            B.    Obedience

                        Hebrews 5:8

            C.    Patience

                        James 5:10

                        1 Peter 2:20

            D.    Gives us compassion for others (2 Corinthians 1:_), even as Jesus (Hebrews 2:18)

            E.    Confidence that God is aware, sees our affliction.

                        Psalms 25:18

VII.    The promise: The end result and reward for endurance.

           A.    Reign with him

                            2 Tim 2:12 "If we suffer, we shall also reign with him..."

            B.    The crown of life.

                            Revelation 2:10

 
VIII.    One's physical condition (or financial, for that matter) is not a a reflection or indicator of his spiritual stability
or walk with God (as some claim). 

        A.    Spiritual men - i.e., Job and David - at times associated physical pain with their spiritual condition. (They may be related, but not necessarily.) If anything, according to the words of Jesus, the opposite would be true: How difficult it is for a rich man to enter the kingdom, etc.

                   Job 33:19 "He is chastened (Hebrew, yakach - proved, judged, rebuked, reproved, corrected, convicted) also with pain upon his bed, and the multitude of his bones with strong pain"

                  Psalms 25:18 "Look upon mine affliction and my pain; and forgive all my sins."

        B.    They may be related, but not always. See Luke 13:2, etc.

                   Luke 13:2 " And Jesus answering said unto them, Suppose ye that these Galilaeans were sinners above all the Galilaeans, because they suffered such things?" 

        C.    If such were always the case, we'd have to conclude that Jesus was abandoned by God on the cross! 

  

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MISC. VERSES:

1Cr 4:12 And labour, working with our own hands: being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we suffer it:

1Cr 10:13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God [is] faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear [it].

1Cr 12:26 And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it.

2Cr 1:6 And whether we be afflicted, [it is] for your consolation and salvation, which is effectual in the enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer: or whether we be comforted, [it is] for your consolation and salvation.

2Cr 1:7 And our hope of you [is] stedfast, knowing, that as ye are partakers of the sufferings, so [shall ye be] also of the consolation.

2Cr 11:20 For ye suffer, if a man bring you into bondage, if a man devour [you], if a man take [of you], if a man exalt himself, if a man smite you on the face.

Gal 3:4 Have ye suffered so many things in vain? if [it be] yet in vain.

Gal 5:11 And I, brethren, if I yet preach circumcision, why do I yet suffer persecution? then is the offence of the cross ceased.

Gal 6:12 As many as desire to make a fair shew in the flesh, they constrain you to be circumcised; only lest they should suffer persecution for the cross of Christ.

Phl 3:10 That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;

Phl 4:12 I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.

Col 1:24 Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body's sake, which is the church:

1Th 2:2 But even after that we had suffered before, and were shamefully entreated, as ye know, at Philippi, we were bold in our God to speak unto you the gospel of God with much contention.

1Th 2:14 For ye, brethren, became followers of the churches of God which in Judaea are in Christ Jesus: for ye also have suffered like things of your own countrymen, even as they [have] of the Jews:

2Th 1:5 [Which is] a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God, that ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which ye also suffer:

1Pe 2:19 For this [is] thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully.

1Pe 2:20 For what glory [is it], if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer [for it], ye take it patiently, this [is] acceptable with God.

1Pe 3:17 For [it is] better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing.

Luk 22:44 And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.

 

PROTECTED FROM:

Dan 3:25 He answered and said, Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.

Dan 6:22 My God hath sent his angel, and hath shut the lions' mouths, that they have not hurt me...

Dan 6:23 Then was the king exceeding glad for him, and commanded that they should take Daniel up out of the den. So Daniel was taken up out of the den, and no manner of hurt was found upon him, because he believed in his God.

Mar 16:18 They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.

Luk 10:19 Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you.

Act 18:10 For I am with thee, and no man shall set on thee to hurt thee: for I have much people in this city.

 

Act 27:10 And said unto them, Sirs, I perceive that this voyage will be with hurt and much damage, not only of the lading and ship, but also of our lives.

Rev 2:11 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death.

Rev 9:4 And it was commanded them that they should not hurt the grass of the earth, neither any green thing, neither any tree; but only those men which have not the seal of God in their foreheads.

Rev 9:10 And they had tails like unto scorpions, and there were stings in their tails: and their power [was] to hurt men five months.

Rev 9:19 For their power is in their mouth, and in their tails: for their tails [were] like unto serpents, and had heads, and with them they do hurt.

Rev 11:5 And if any man will hurt them, fire proceedeth out of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies: and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed.  

 

Scripture says we somehow "share" in Jesus' sufferings: 

        Romans 8:17; 2 Corinthians 1:15; Philippians 1:29

 

It was necessary ("must") that he experience pain personally, to be our understanding highpriest - and so also "must" we (2 Tim 3:12)

            Heb _____

 

The wicked are expected to suffer, as they deserve it:

            Job 15:20 

            Jer 30:23 Behold, the whirlwind of the LORD goeth forth with fury, a continuing whirlwind: it shall fall with pain upon the head of the wicked.

            Jude 1:7 Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.

 

 

OUR CORRECT RESPONSE TO TERROR:

1Pe 3:14 But and if ye suffer for righteousness' sake, happy [are ye]: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled