Why is there pain? Part I; Human Trafficking

Why is there so much pain?

God wants to bless us, no doubt. But it is such questions that cause the utmost struggle as we watch those we love suffer and die in pain.

I am just a humble servant and do not profess to know the pain of a chemotherapy patient or a person with a terminal illness – these people have pain that I cannot fathom. I have had several in my family die of terminal illness and it is truly the darkest of moments. I have had three children – I was sick daily for nine months with them and had much pain bringing them into this world. So I have had some but not as much as others.

This is an important question that I think Christians should prayerfully consider. Through the life of Paul Brand and my beloved Jesus Christ I think there are some insights although many of the answers we will not know until we see Jesus.

Why is there pain? Is there a reason for it?

Paul Brand was a man who discovered the source of leprosy and made great strides in treating and eradicating this disease that made people a pariah from their own family. He discovered that the reason for the damage to limbs and muscles was because of the lack of pain caused by damage to the nerve endings.

With no pain, there was nothing to indicate to the person that they had a wound to be attended to.

Further damage happened as fingers were gradually eroded and turned to stumps.

Brand believed that pleasure and pain were not opposites but mutually dependent parts of the richest parts of life. He said, “Most of the greatest pleasures come after great sacrifice, ” and

“’Thank God for pain!’ Brand declares with utmost sincerity. ‘I cannot think of a greater gift I could give my leprosy patients…’”

In fact, Brand filled three years of his life researching to attempt to do just that – restore the sense of pain so that they could take better care of themselves. He had to give up.

In reading this, I can’t help but recollect my first real “numbing” experience at the dentist office. Upon going home, my mom fixed me a ham sandwich – boy was I hungry! I devoured my first bite and it just seemed like I was chewing it forever. I couldn’t taste a thing but it was good just to chew! I began to notice a funny, warm liquid in my mouth – putting my finger to my tongue —I was shocked to see that my mouth was filling with blood. I was chewing my tongue! My lack of feeling also gave me a lack of pain – I could have chewed off my tongue! I learned the first reason I believe God made pain:

1. Pain is necessary to prevent further injury

When we feel pain it is because there is something harming us!

17 The troubles of my heart have enlarged;
Bring me out of my distresses!
18 Look on my affliction and my pain,
And forgive all my sins.

Psalm 25:17-18

Through the pain of our body we seek medical help, we draw our hand back from a hot stove, we care for our wounds.

Through the pain of our soul we are convicted, we seek God, we desire to change our sinful actions.

The Holy Spirit convicts us of sin and we turn from our sin in repentance and sorrow (or harden our hearts and turn from God.)

God made pain as a warning for us. Without pain, we would not even know we are dying! How would we know to say goodbye, set our affairs in order? Others would not know we needed help! It is a signal of things that must be attended to. It is a signal that cannot be ignored.

We must remember as we and our loved ones suffer however, that our Christ is a man well acquainted with pain.

Isaiah 53:3
He is despised and rejected by men, A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.


Jesus Christ was God in human form. He didn’t have to suffer. He didn’t have to be poor. He didn’t have to hurt and yet:

Hebrews 2:9
But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone.

Pain emerged as the curse against Eve in the Garden of Eden. It was brought about by sin. Our fallen world is rife with pain – tragic, heartbreaking pain. And yet, it is part of life, nonetheless. God not only teaches us how to live but how to suffer and how to die and even provides for us to have “peace that passes all understanding.” How? – truly through the power of God!

Today’s Prayer Point

I think perhaps the reason I am contemplating such a subject has to do with the prayer point today. On page 3 of the January 5th Christian Index there is an article entitled Human Trafficking increasing within U.S. borders. According to the article:

“An estimated 600,000 to 800,000 women, children, and men are impacted every year by human trafficking…trafficking victims are trapped in forced labor and sexual exploitation and millions of people are enslaved in their own countries.”


The article goes on to highlight examples of young children that are being kidnapped and sold into pedophilia rings. Also young women are being lured into “modeling contracts” and forced to work in brothels or strip clubs or as nannies or maids – a topic of a recent Lifetime Television mini series starring Mira Sorvina(she was nominated for a Golden Globe and may receive one next week for her role.) All of this in the United States! (There is a heartbreaking article from 2004 from the IMB online site that is very insightful about the worldwide problem.)

What can we as Christians do?

The IMB article states:

William Carey, the father of modern missions, cared enough two centuries ago to struggle to free Hindu widows in Bengal from suttee (being burned alive on their husbands’ funeral pyres). Amy Carmichael, one of the great missionaries of the 20th century, cared enough to rescue hundreds of south Indian girls from temple prostitution. What would Carey and Carmichael say about a global business that uses modern transportation and communications to entrap innocents with emotionless efficiency? What would they do about it?

1) Become educated on the End Demand Act (S 937, HR 2012) a measure being supported by many Southern Baptists and evangelical Christian organizations. This act “focuses on the pimps and johns, because the need for demand needs to be addressed.”

a. This passed in the House as of Dec 16, 2005.

b. The article notes that over 20,000 people in the US are bought and sold in human slavery rings!

2) You can get more information on how to identify victims of human trafficking or how to help you can contact the nationwide hotline at 888-373-7888 or go to www.cedarsfoundation.com, www.bsccoalition.org or the Southern Baptist ethics and Religious Liberties Commission.

I cannot fathom the nightmare of the children and adults in such a situation. I am appalled that it is happening here in the US as well as overseas. I am so heartbroken and feel helpless. But I can pray.

Dear Lord, We do not understand the pain in the world but we do know that a world with sin is a world with pain. You experience pain as we deny you, as we sin, as we forget you, as we ignore you. Forgive us for inflicting pain upon the Savior who loves us! Lord, as for these men and women being bought and sold in slavery – deliver them from slavery as you did the Israelites from Egypt. I pray you will deliver them in an astounding and prominent way and judge those doing such things on this earth so that they may repent and turn to you for forgiveness for such heinous things. Please give Christians who know of such happenings the courage to report it and stand up for right even at risk of their own lives. Please, dear Lord, forgive this nation for being so concerned with our riches that we forget about the poor. Forgive us for being so concerned with our leisure that we forget the forced labor of others. Call us to pray with renewed fervor. You are God – we are not. Time is short. Let us reach people for you! In Jesus Christ holy and blessed name. Amen.

Comments
  • Brian Parker
    Reply

    I feel that your explanation of pain is right on the money. The part about human trafficking is tragic. I read the entire article that you linked to. I, like many, thought that slavery only happened in third world countries. Who could have guessed that we actually have these problems right here at home? Thank you for pointing this out to me. I will definitely join you in prayer about this and other issues.

    God Bless.

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