PAIN IS GAIN
M. J. Jacob
A few weeks back I stepped into a local Bata shoe store to select a pair of slippers. The salesman brought to me a pair which I found irksome to my feet. I found it very uncomfortable while walking. Instead of a smooth surface, it had a thorny surface which pricked the foot. I asked the salesman to bring another pair. The smart salesman said, "Sir, it is the latest production. Doctors recommend this as the pricking promotes blood circulation." I bought it immediately. I am using it. I know, though it is uncomfortable and irritable, it serves as a means to improve my health.
We often think pain is a curse, but we can learn that pain is gain when we patiently bear the pain. Dr. Paul Band in his book The Gift Of Pain has said pain is a boon to the leprosy patients. A mother suffers unbearable pain during child birth. But what a blessing and joy to her to see the new born child coming through her bitter pain!
There was no other way to offer salvation to mankind other than through gruesome pain and crucifixion. Just ponder over our Lord's sufferings, the Gethsemane agony and the unbearable pain on the cross; all of these paved the way for abundant blessings to all of us. We have to understand that pain is the path chosen by God to bring the richest gain and blessing to humanity. When we grasp the reality, we will be able to understand the divine plan to shower rich blessings through pain. When I look back over the 93 years of my pilgrim life, I can assuredly say, pain is gain. I have learnt precious lessons, experienced the reality of faith while traversing through seeming tragedies of life. I have several times questioned God, "Why?" Now I thank my God for granting me a spiritual vision through my pain. I was able to experience the joy of the Lord as I accepted all my pain and suffering as allowed by the permissive will of a loving God.
Just think of the terrible agony and sufferings the apostles and martyrs endured! They all had the spiritual vision that through their sacrificial death greater blessings would be showered on mankind. They also had the assurance of everlasting joy of the new kingdom they were looking forward to.
It was through pain and tribulations that Paul enjoyed the richness of life in Christ. He knew very well that his earthly life would end up with martyrdom. At the same time he knew that blessings in the Lord's presence awaited him. He rejoiced in his sufferings as he thought of his anticipated reward. Heaven is a place of activities. I can visualise Paul with a joyful face rejoicing and involved in active service in heaven.
In his book, Let God Be God, Ray Stedman has narrated the agonising events in the life of Tyndale. William Tyndale, the 16th century Bible scholar, had a passion for making Scriptures available to English speaking masses. Because the Church of England did not approve Tyndale's translation, King Henry VIII banned it. In 1524 Tyndale fled to Belgium to avoid being arrested. In 1535 his close friend Henry Philips betrayed him to his enemies. Tyndale was imprisoned for 16 months in the castle of Vilvorde, Belgium. In the jail he made friends with the inmates. The guard, guard's daughter and several others in the castle were converted to faith in Jesus Christ. He was tried and condemned to death as a heretic. On October 6, 1536, Tyndale was executed. His last words as he was tied to the stake were, "Lord, open the eyes of King of England." His body was consumed by fire. It is marvellous indeed that just three years after his death, God answered the martyr's dying prayer. Henry VIII dropped his opposition to the Bible translation. The English Great Bible was published in 1536, based almost entirely on Tyndale's translation. Just think of the gain through pain. Tyndale's life and martyrdom brought abundant blessings. Though he was betrayed, and condemned to death, he continued living for Christ, witnessing to the jailors and praying that the King of England would allow God's word to go out to the people. His prayer was answered and history was changed. We can assuredly say that Tyndale is now rejoicing in heaven, actively involved in the service of God.
Dear brothers and sisters, are you going through the crucible of pain and sorrow and wondering why this is happening to you? Take courage, abundant blessings will flow into your life. Pain is only a pruning process. You will emerge from this cup of pain and suffering as a beautiful vessel fit for the Master's use. "Sanctified afflictions are spiritual promotions."
If I find Him, or I follow
What His guerdon here?
"Many a sorrow, many a labour,
Many a tear."
If I still closely to Him,
What hath he at last?
"Sorrow vanquished, labour ended,
Jordan passed." - John Mason Neale.