Is My Pain a Punishment? It Can Feel Like it!

“. . . We also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” (Romans 5:3-5)

When I taught students who were blind, parents sometimes hinted they somehow felt responsible for their child’s visual impairment. It reminded me of the story in John about the blind man.

“Now as Jesus passed by, He saw a man who was blind from birth. And His disciples asked Him, saying, ‘Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?’

Jesus answered, ‘Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in him.’”

Jesus’ response is encouraging to those who secretly ask God, “Is my pain a punishment?” It surely can feel like a punishment. The suffering one might cry, “What did I do to deserve this?”

God’s answer: Nothing, my dear one. Through this, I will reveal My love and power in your life.

Children enjoy show and tell. In the midst of pain, disease, and illness, we experience God’s power and love. When we testify of His faithfulness, His love, His protection, His sovereignty, we become God’s living show and tell.

“. . . rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer. . . ” (Romans 12:12)

Paul challenges us to be patient in tribulation. Are you kidding? Isn’t it only natural for us to want the trial to end immediately?

Little children have a hard time waiting to do something special. They may become impatient waiting for you to play a game with them as you promised. But they never doubt that you will do it because they are certain of your love for them. Likewise, we can ‘rejoice in hope’ knowing that our heavenly Father will work mightily in the trial. We can trust Him to complete His perfect plan in the midst of pain and suffering.

Rather than ask the question, ‘Why?’ we can ask, ‘Who?’ Who is able to comfort? Who is able to provide strength, resources, peace? Who understands what I’m thinking and feeling? Who will help me? Who can I trust? Who has the power to work mightily in my situation?

God can do all that and more. Consider all that He is.

Prayer: Dear heavenly Father, Thank You for revealing Your love and power in my life. When my pains get too much to bear or when I get discouraged, help me keep my focus on You. Help me see how You are using my illness for Your kingdom and for Your glory. Thank You for the perfect plan You have for my life. In Jesus’ precious name, Amen.

About the Author:
Vicki Chandler understands special needs as a patient, parent, and professor. She has had multiple sclerosis since 1993. Her 31 year old son was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. She’s taught special education as a teacher, administrator, and adjunct professor. Through her online community she reaches out to other parents of children with special needs.

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How has God used your pain or illness for good?

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4 thoughts on “Is My Pain a Punishment? It Can Feel Like it!

  1. When my chronic pain first started over 3 years ago, I went to doctor after doctor trying to find someone who could “fix” me. During this time, my husband prayed that God would heal my body. He hated watching me suffer and he felt hopeless to do anything for me. One day, as he prayed for God to heal me, I asked him not to pray that anymore. God was using my pain to get my attention and it worked. Last year I developed chronic fatigue. My first thought was “Really God?!?” But then I saw clearly that as my chronic pain began to decrease, I began thinking I was back in control. So, God made sure that I HAD to listen to Him. I no longer had the option of dealing with the problem myself – I was at the complete mercy of my body and God. This is the best thing that could have happened to me! God was right, I had no choice but to seek Him AND listen! The changes that have taken place within me are nothing short of miraculous. My faith is stronger, my fear is almost completely gone, and I have a relationship with God I have dreamed of all my life. Has God been punishing me? No, He is preparing me for something great that will bring others to recognize the power of His love and promises. He has changed me forever, and for that alone I am eternally grateful.

      • Thank you for your kind words Vicki. Your message was very timely. I had a horrible flareup on the week-end.Thank you for reminding me to be patient, for having child-like faith. Thank you for reaching out and helping others find hope.

  2. I’m sorry to hear you had a horrible flareup. My MS has moved on to secondary progressive MS, but I can still remember the flareups I had. It stinks to have a disease that can make you feel absolutely listless. I love to read Joni Eareckson Tada’s books. She helped me have godly thinking about pain and suffering…God calls us to be thankful IN all things; we don’t have to be thankful FOR all things.
    Whenever I feel really horrible, it comforts me to know that Christ understands suffering and pain.

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