Welcome to Welling for your spiritual health and growth. Still in the first month of the new year. And I’m doing a series of what may be our experience and what has been our experience and possibly what is your experience right now. We’re calling it PAINPOWER, about how pain plays a critical role in our managing life. And life cannot be without pain.
And yet we have guidance in God’s word as to how to navigate life in spite of the pain. We’ve talked about pain as the clarifier, pain as a connector, pain as the cleanser, that somehow pain points can be translated and turned into power points. Today I speak about pain as a corrector.
What is a teacher’s favorite nation, somebody asked. And they said it was explanation. It’s a beautiful kids joke. This has some truth because the teacher explains, explains truth but also correct untruths. A teacher wants to provide what is right, not wrong, accurate, what is good, not what is inaccurate and bad, what is precise, not imprecise, does not want to teach error. If a person is mistaken in opinion or is wrong in the judgment that he or she makes, a teacher wants to help with correction. Now, pain is a teacher and a trainer. Hebrews 12, we looked at it very briefly. For those who are trained by pain, there’s a harvest of righteousness and peace.
Pain as a corrector, corrects my attitudes. We don’t have much control about other people’s actions, but we do have control of how we react. Do we react in fear or anger? Do we have ingratitude? Do we have discontentment? Attitudes show us how we can respond. We can detect our bad attitude inside us. And pain says, be more patient.
Not long ago, I was on a flight right as the airlines began to open up. The lady behind me kept incessantly talking. And I like some quiet sometimes. But as I heard her story, my attitude changed because this was her first flight. And she was blind from birth. And she was going to see her father, “see” her father. She was so excited.
And suddenly, my attitude changed from impatience to one of appreciation because pain, common pain can cancel negative attitudes. It carries a dual function. It causes a poor attitude to be changed for those who are trained by pain. And it can create the right attitude.
Pain causes me to count my blessings, move on to thankfulness. It keeps me from discontentment, to look at my provisions, all the blessings I have, and to be content when I see so many without much.
Actually, pain keeps me from being pain– repeat, actually pain keeps me from being fearful. The more you meet pain and beat pain, you defeat fear itself. So pain is a corrector of my attitude. Pain is also a corrector of my values. Have I unintentionally subscribed to worldly values?
Values are your principles of importance, that which provide me guidance in the decisions I make and you make. Worldly values say everything is for yourself, that you can do everything without reference to God. And pain says, no, I want to remind you. I want to correct your value about how you deem yourself far more important than God himself.
Watch out for moral behavior which comes from a value against God, trying to live life without reference to God’s values, which is the other thing that corrects my behavior. Pain says, I want to pinpoint your justification of your own behavior. I want to show you how you rationalize your conduct. Pain defeats the best-constructed arguments for sin because your whole being is affected by pain.
Pain acts as a corrector, a corrector of our attitudes, of our anxieties, of our misperceptions, even of our theology, because pain is a teacher.
I was in a country which had experienced great pain. We brought half of the all known passes in the country to a neighboring land. They were thankful that they could sleep overnight without the sound of rockets and the bursting of bombs. These are the ones who have decided to stay there in the middle of the war, that could have left.
I met a pastor who was a cardiologist. He’s called the Nehemiah of the nation. Another was a PhD in civil law, but they have stayed in the middle of pain. I met a pastor who was a professional pianist. Actually, a bomb destroyed his piano. A rocket hit his house.
I met him and his wife. And yet with brightness of face, she said, we know God is good every time, all the time. What gave her that inner strength? I was partially in unbelief and partially in disbelief. Was she simply repeating a line that was a slogan that, in spite of losing everything, saying God is good all the time?
I said, well, why do you say that? And with poise in her voice, she said, we have peace in our hearts. Jesus puts people in our way so that they can help us and we can help them. We get to help those who are facing the same kind of conditions we are. And since we have learned in our hearts that God is not evil, God is not bad, God is good all the time, we are able to live it out and help others.
My brother my sister, we have a good God, whose incarnation into human pain was the ultimate correction of all wrong belief, wrong attitude, wrong theologies, wrong behavior, wrong values. If you’re experiencing pain today and if we have experienced pain yesterday and if we’ll experience pain tomorrow, we don’t know. I don’t know. The point of pain is turned and translated and transformed into the point of power because pain functions as a corrector. Pain power.