“For the creature was made subject to vanity, NOT WILLINGLY, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope” (Romans 8:20)
No one likes pain. If we had our choice every one of us would have none of it. We prefer Eden before the fall. And yet, “the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.” (Rom. 8:22)
When we find ourselves in a prison of pain there is only one natural response: “GET ME OUT OF HERE!!!” Thorns in the flesh? You can keep them. Messengers of Satan buffeting us? We rebuke them. Infirmities? No thanks. Reproaches? Necessities? Persecutions? Distresses? We’ll pass. Even the prospect of suffering has us knocking on wood, crossing our fingers, or convincing ourselves it will never happen to us. Until “never” comes.
Pain. The “gift” NOBODY wants. Paul said: “…there was GIVEN to me a thorn in the flesh.” (2 Cor. 12:7) But should we kick up our heels every time we’re in a place of pain? Of course not. Paul’s reaction was to pray for deliverance. Even Jesus prayed for the removal of the cup of suffering in Gethsemane. And sometimes (indeed more often than not) blessed deliverance and relief is given. The door of the prisonhouse swings open. But other times…
What needs to be understood is that it is not strange that any of us, believer or unbeliever, should want OUT of any painful situation. We long for that place where “there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain” (Rev. 21:4) But we are not home yet. Deliverance from this world of pain and redemption of the body is still in the future. Despite the belief of some that pain and suffering in this present life is “unnecessary” and could be avoided if we would just take hold of “heaven,” we still, like it or not, do not experience the heaven yet to come. “For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.” (Rom. 8:24,25)
The blessed hope is yet to be realized. The full manifestation of the sons of God awaits the resurrection of the body. The earnest expectation of creation will be satisfied at that time. Our Lord is returning to usher in an era of ever-increasing peace. Death itself will finally be vanquished. Pain will no longer visit the inhabitants of the earth. Until that time, the redeemed are to both yearn with the world for deliverance and wait in patience for the dawn of the better day, knowing that God works ALL things (including pain) together for good in their lives.
Thank God for every present deliverance from the prison of pain. It is a foretaste of things to come. But when it does not happen and pain persists be willing to hear, “My grace is sufficient for you. My power is made perfect in your weakness.” And put on the helmet of salvation – because your redemption does draw near.