How We See Pain…

As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. And his disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”
(John 9:1, 2 ESV)

I am watching John Piper teach on disability and pain…and having read the above verses, I paused the video a few minutes into it. This is a sobering moment for me and I hope for you too. God (through life) has taught me that HE is gracious in pain. And better still, HE is awesomely gracious THROUGH pain. I find it hard to point to any significant, God-exulting work that God does in our lives without pain, trials and challenges (I’m not saying there are none without pain). God works wonders through our pain. And tonight, I am reminded that pain is not meaningless, but there is purpose in pain.

Look at the first two verses of John 9 again.
Aren’t we like the disciples? We (Christians) are so quick to assume all or most pain result from sin (some undoubtedly do). We are too quick to conclude, too quick to judge others’ pain, too quick to seek theological justification for people’s suffering instead of seeking ways to be there for them and support them. I’ve been there before. I’ve been guilty as charged. I’ve been too quick to judge in the past… I have. But I am learning empathy because I know better. I have experienced pain too. If God is for us, why aren’t we for people, irrespective of their level of spirituality or none? This is a huge challenge for Christians; learning empathy and seeking others’ good in their pain.

Jesus saw the blind man, but his disciples were rather busy seeking spiritual justification for the man’s blindness.
Jesus saw an opportunity for God’s glory, but his disciples sought a case for blame.
What do you see when you look at people who are suffering around you?
How do you see pain?
We need a radical change of attitude. Our spirituality is easily tainted with self-centred exultation of theology. That’s hypocrisy!
We need empathy.

Yes, Jesus did not knock the head of his disciples for being so insensitive to the man’s pain. Something tells me he let them be because they did not know better at the time. But we do… Oh we know so much! So let’s be there for people, especially those in pain; in our local churches, communities and families. Let’s be there for those suffering physical, emotional and spiritual pain. Job’s friends had sound and deep theology (have you read the book of Job lately?) but lacked empathy and grace.

A word for those in some sort of pain; God is never late, He is working for you in and through your pain. Let Him finish what HE started.

I commend us to God’s abiding grace and peace.

About Joseph Iregbu

I'm a writer, purpose guy, speaker and business consultant. My passion is to help people live with purpose and not waste their lives. I live in the UK with my wife, Temi and our gorgeous Isabel Juda. Let's connect on Twitter and Facebook.