Why Pain?



We are not one-part beings. This means each part experiences a different type of pain. These can usually be classified as physical pain and emotional pain. They can also be named as body versus soul pain, since the soul comprises the mind, will, and emotions.

Do we also have spiritual pain? I believe the yearning we feel for God can be experienced as spiritual pain. We can also mistake it for emotional pain from guilt, shame, or fear. A yearning can be mistaken for His presence being removed from us, but He promises never to leave or forsake us. (Hebrews 13:5) What does that mean? If someone promises never to leave us it means they will always be present, but if they will not forsake us it means they will help us as well. It means they will have our backs. Jesus will do both.


I think we are familiar with pain sources, but let’s do a quick summary:

Physical pain can be caused by illness, injury, or degradation. The pain receptors in stimulated nerves send the message to the brain that something is wrong somewhere in the body. The brain itself cannot feel pain but it pinpoints the painful location and sends out the S.O.S.

wounded heartSo, is physical pain bad? It can certainly be, especially when chronic pain wears a person down both physically and emotionally. However, pain is originally intended for good. Imagine having a blister on your foot but you can’t feel it due to issues with the pain-sensing nerves. Someone with diabetes would be a good example: a lack of feeling pain will lead to deepening of the wound, then to gangrene and to amputation—and all due to lack of feeling pain.

How about emotional pain? Is that ever good? Of course! God intended emotional pain to help us have proper relationships. If you hurt your spouse’s feelings and you feel pain over your actions, that pain leads you to heal the rift. If you rebel against God, your emotional pain (guilt) will lead you to repentance.

Pain is meant as a warning. It’s supposed to lead you to proper actions, whether that’s physical (seeking help for an injury or illness) or emotional (healing a damaged relationship).

figure depressed and confusedPain only becomes a problem when it’s ignored. Unfortunately, some Christians have become experts at ignoring or denying the pain they feel. It reminds me of the child who sticks her fingers in her ears and sings, “La-la-la” to drown out what she doesn’t want to hear.

Others think that they are somehow lacking in faith if they feel pain.

Not true . . . everyone in this world feels pain.

The question to ask ourselves is this: What will we do with it?




this is part 3 of a series on pain and the Christian

part 1| Should a Christian Have Pain?

part 2| Separation from God

part 3| Why Pain?


all illustrations courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net