What is pain?


The definition of the International Association for the Study of Pain is widely used: "Pain is an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with actual or potential tissue damage, or described in terms of such damage". In medical diagnosis, pain is considered to be a symptom of an underlying condition.

What does the Bible say about pain?

The word "pain" or a synonym appears over 70 times times in Scripture. The first use of the word explains the origin of pain in childbirth: "And to the woman he said, I will greatly multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children; your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you" (Genesis 3:16). The context here is that Adam and Eve sinned and the pain of childbirth is one of the consequences of sin. Because of sin, the whole earth was cursed and death ensued as a result (Romans 5:12). Thus, it can be concluded that pain is one of the many results of original sin.

Although not specifically stated in the Bible, medically we know that pain is a gift. Without it we would not know when we need medical attention. In fact, the absence of pain is one of the problems associated with leprosy. Children would never learn that touching a hot stove is a bad idea, nor would we be alerted to a dangerous medical condition without the pain associated with it. Spiritually speaking, one of the benefits of pain is mentioned by James: "Count it all joy, my brothers, when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith, once confirmed, produces perseverance" (James 1:2- 3). According to James, when we endure painful trials, we can rejoice in knowing that God is working in our lives to produce Christ like strength and character. This applies to mental, emotional and spiritual pain as well as physical pain.

Pain also provides an opportunity for us to experience God's grace. Consider what Paul said: "Then he said to me, My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me" (2 Corinthians 12:9). Paul was talking about a "thorn in the flesh" that was bothering him. We do not know what it was, but it looked like it was painful. However, he recognized the presence of God's grace to help him endure. God will give His children the grace to bear the pain.

God helps us through pain. Whether it is physical or emotional pain, God has the comfort we need. He helps us overcome pain and maintain hope. Pain is not forever but God's love never ends.

Jesus came to help us through pain. He understands our suffering, because He also suffered pain. But Jesus conquered all the pain! One day, in Heaven, there will be no more pain or suffering. But until then, Jesus helps us through the pain.

For Christ also suffered for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring us to God. He was put to death in the body, but made alive by the Spirit 1 Peter 3:18.

God bless you!