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Hebrews 5:8-9 NKJV 8 though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered. 9 And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him,
Pain is a distressing feeling often caused by intense or damaging stimuli. That is a very broad definition that means that pain happens when we feel something we don’t like usually due to injury or something being wrong with us. Keeping the definition as broad as possible helps me to say what I would like to say about experiencing pain, and we we have it in the first place. Obviously we would love to live lives that are devoid of pain, pain has purpose.
If we didn’t feel pain it would be very possible to have been seriously injured for example and not be aware of it. How many times have we seen the scene in movies where the good guys are shooting at the bad guys, and the adrenaline is flowing freely. After the initial threat is over and everyone is coming down from the fight or flight high, someone looks at the hero and says something like this: ‘Look! You are bleeding! You have been hit!’
Adrenaline can temporarily desensitize a person from feeling pain, but just because you cannot feel the pain does not mean you are out of danger. You will feel pain sooner or later because that is the purpose of pain, to inform you that you are indeed injured. (I’m going somewhere with this….).
There are many types of pain. Physical, and emotional. But pain is an indicator that something is wrong, or out of sync with what is deemed to be normal or proper. Pain hurts, and it is actually a good thing that it does because it in an indicator that something is amiss.
It is virtually impossible to live in this world and not experience pain, (that is if you are normal). Even Jesus felt pain. He had to, because He was as human as he was divine. God requirement for a lamb of sacrifice is that it had to be without blemish. So Jesus could not be the One who died for the sins of the world and be a freak of nature. He had to feel. He had to experience the ugliness of the world including pain.
This leads us to one of the purposes of pain. Hebrews chapter 5 tells us that Jesus, the Son of God, experienced pain so that He could learn obedience. He needed pain to mature, so that He as a man could redeem us. Pain is a great teacher, and it if we handle it correctly it can serve to perfect or to mature us.
In Acts Chapter 9:16 God said that the Apostle Paul was being called to serve Him, and bring the gospel message to the non-Jewish world. One of the things that God prophesied about Paul was that ‘he must suffer’ for the cause of Christ. Paul knew this but still answered the call. This is why Paul was so very powerful in God. Pain when handled properly brings power with it.
Let me share another scripture here to assist me in making my main point. The theme for this devotion is pain, learning, and healing. And through these quarantine devotions I have tried to give you a word that is relevant for these changing times.
Matthew 12:25 25 And Jesus knew their thoughts, and said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand:
There are obvious ramifications here for us that are very relevant, but I want you to notice the principle that Jesus gives as well. Kingdom, city, house. The things that bring down nations can bring down cities. The same is true for cities and houses. Jesus is plainly speaking about division, but the principle can be applied to other things as well. This is why I preach to the nation. You don’t have to be political or even patriotic to benefit from a national word. The things that are happening in a nation are also effecting your home. What happens in your home effects your body, and so on. Therefore it is important to us to speak healing to the nation if we want healing in our bodies and spirits. If we want prosperity in our families we have to be concerned about what happens in the regions, and nations.
So let’s talk about pain and healing in our nation shall we? Remember a few months ago I told you that there is an apocalypse in America. And as a reminder the original idea of the world is not ‘the end’, but rather an unveiling.
As I write this, the election results are not final, but what I have heard over and over in the days before all the votes are counted is this: ‘This is so painful’. If your candidate is winning it’s painful. ‘It should have never been this close’. If your candidate is losing it’s painful. ‘Everyone around me said we were going to win’.
The division the church-world is also painful. People are praying for their candidate to win, (on both sides). Some very influential people in the church also made predictions who the winners would be. If these predictions turn out to be wrong, it will be very painful for the people who believed them. Church people were not the only ones who placed their hope in candidates. There is a lot of pain going around right now.
The pain won’t end when the election results are all in. Transitions are painful. Even those that are relatively smooth can hurt. Can you imagine a transitional exchange in the political climate we are in? One thing is painfully clear, our nation is extremely divided. Families are divided about this. And make no mistake about it. This is painful.
But here is the good news. Pain has purpose. Pain can cause us as a nation to understand that there is indeed something wrong with us. Pain can mature us. Pain can be a great teacher for us. Pain can cause us to go to see a physician. We might not go if we felt fine. And the real good news is that The Physician is in the house, and is now seeing patients.
Mark 2:17 When Jesus heard it, he saith unto them, They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.
Jeremiah the prophet ask a pertinent rhetorical question about God’s ability to bring healing to the nation:
Jeremiah 8:22 Is there no balm in Gilead; is there no physician there? why then is not the health of the daughter of my people recovered?
I believe that the pain that many of us are feeling right now must serve as a reminder that we need to seek God as a nation. This is not the time to look for partisan based solutions, nor a time to point fingers across the aisle. Part of the pain we are feeling is the abject failure of any particular ideology to take root and cause wide swaths of people to vote in favor of it. We have seen both parties have majorities in government, and have still not seen answers, solutions, or prescriptions to heal what ails us.
And just to be clear, the church has not always stepped up either. Many of our leader have not only failed us, but have actually caused more pain that we have brought healing. It’s time for pastors, and other ministry gifts to admit the obvious. We need Jesus! We need Him to heal us as well!
I pray for healing in our nation but I realize that the pain is here for a reason. I believe it is here to remind us to see The Doctor, that is, to call on Jehovah Jireh, the God who Heals us. We have been with the bullets of the enemy hit so many times, but we have become desensitized to the pain. I pray that the emotional, and spiritual adrenaline will wear off soon, and we are forced to know that we are not well.
No pain. No gain.
These are hard lessons, but pain is a great teacher and can be a great tool to unite us. I pray that we learn valuable lessons from any pain we may be experiencing so that we can mature into the complete persons, and nation that I believe that God has called us to be.
Bishop Horace Ransom Jr. is the Senior Pastor and Founder of New Covenant Church International in Detroit, Michigan. He is a Jurisdictional Bishop and serves on the Board of Presbytery for the Jabula International Network, North America. Bishop Ransom is an outstanding teacher of the Word of God with a passion for challenging believers to become the best that they can be. Faith, Purpose and the Kingdom of God are frequently the subject matter of his dissertation.