Session 7: Why Does God Allow Pain?

Apologetics and the Gospel  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  9:32
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Join us today as we address the question, why does God allow pain?

(Intro Music starts with first slide - read intro and move forward)
Welcome to Apologetics and the Gospel. My name is Pastor Jonathan White, and I am the Lead Pastor at CrossPointe Family Church in Hurricane, WV as well as a practicing Emergency Medicine Physician.

Question for Today: Why Does God Allow Pain?

Here are some statistics on pain and suffering in our world today:
According to recent world estimates, 151,600 people die each day with 55.3 million people dying each year. At least 464,000 people are murdered worldwide each year. 18.1 million cases of cancer are diagnosed in the world each year.
Moving to the US alone - every 10 seconds there is a report of child abuse in the United States. Every day in the US 4-5 children die as a result of abuse or neglect. Around 500,000 children are currently in foster care with 20,000 of them aging out every year never having a family.
I could go on and on with depressing statistics, but I think the point is clear. Pain and suffering clearly exist today. Don’t get too depressed just yet. There is hope to come.
But before getting into the answer for our question… what exactly is pain? How is it defined?

What is Pain?

Pain is defined in two different realms:
1. Physical pain - defined as an unpleasant feeling occuring as a result of injury or disease
2. Mental pain - defined as emotional suffering and/or distress
Let’s start discussing physical pain a little further.
The brain receives impulses from throughout the body through nerves. Some of these nerves help you differentiate hot from cold. Others help you understand vibration and where your body is in space. Just think about how intricate our nervous system has been designed. We can know where our hand is and how many fingers we are holding up even with our eyes closed.
Sometimes, however, your nervous system gets overwhelmed by painful stimuli. Touching a hot pan or putting your hand in freezing cold water sends lightening fast signals to your brain which urges you to remove your hand from that environment immediately.
Some may consider this and ask why does pain have to exist anyway?
And the same question can be asked about mental and emotional pain. Why would this kind of pain exist? Why is there so much heartache, hopelessness, depression, and anxiety? Why is there so much illness and disability?
Some religions, especially far eastern religions such as Buddhism have tried to completely deny the existence of pain and suffering. Because they don’t have a good answer for why suffering exists, they just deny that suffering itself exists. But this is illogical, and does not correlate to one’s earthly experience.
But what does the Bible say about suffering?
The Christian answer to why suffering exists is the best answer of all religions on earth. It is clear and concise. Suffering and pain are a result of the sin of the world.
The sin of mankind has affected everything - even including our planet.
You see, natural disasters cause great sufferings throughout our world today. The Bible explains why that occurs as well. The creation groans due to the sins that sinful man has subjected unto it (Romans 8:22). It is understandable that natural disasters can be some of the hardest to handle and explain, but the Bible lays out why these occur. We also have hope given in Scripture that God will remake our planet in the future and reign in peace. See Isaiah 66:22:
Isaiah 66:22 ESV
“For as the new heavens and the new earth that I make shall remain before me, says the Lord, so shall your offspring and your name remain.
However, much of the suffering on earth is not a result of natural disasters. Much suffering on earth comes from the freedom that man has been given. Man has been given a right to choose. He can choose good and he can choose evil. And far too often man has chosen evil instead of good.
Fathers and mothers have chosen to neglect, abuse, and mistreat their children and even each other.
People have chosen to bully one another and treat one another with contempt. They have chosen selfishness over selflessness.
People have chosen to murder, rape, and abuse one another.
Leaders have chosen war over peace and power over love.
People have chosen greed over generosity.

Why is there suffering?

So if we ask the question, why is there suffering? The answer is simple - suffering exists because of sin.
But this brings us to our question for today.

Why Does God Allow Pain?

We have discussed the source of pain and suffering. But why would God allow it to continue?
The answer to this question is multifaceted and we will address a few aspects today The first is:

1. Pain reminds us that things aren’t alright and that we need a Savior.

Just like the body tells the brain when there is a problem, pain and suffering remind us that things aren’t as they should be.
Pain and suffering reminds us of our need for a Savior. It reminds us that sin is in our world, and that things aren’t as they should be. Just like the dashboard of a car lights up when there is a problem with the engine, pain and suffering remind us of our need for a Savior. God uses our pain and suffering to make us aware of our need for salvation.
C.S. Lewis once said:
“Pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our consciences, but shouts in our pains. It is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” - C.S. Lewis
Many would never realize their need for a Savior if it were not for pain and suffering.

2. Pain works to protect us.

Pain and suffering are used to protect us from further hurt. We mentioned touching a hot pan earlier today. Pain prevents us from going through more pain. When we experience pain in our body, it helps us understand there is a problem and work to help fix it or prevent it from getting worse.
Consider someone with appendicitis. If there was not pain associated with it, they would never know they had a need for surgery. This condition could end up causing death or disability. But because of the pain one experiences, they seek help and their outcome is better.
And consider bad dating or courting relationships. When one suffers emotional pain from another person, they often learn to be more careful with whom they trust. This painful relationship may prevent much greater pain that would come through marrying an unsafe person.

3. Pain serves to strengthen us and bring us closer to God.

Romans 5:3–4 ESV
Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope,
Pain and suffering bring us closer to God. As the Scripture we just covered states, we are able to learn perseverance which produces character in us which produces hope. All of this increases our faith and helps us grow closer to God.
And lastly,

4. Pain allows us to have compassion toward others.

Our suffering helps us have compassion on others who are experiencing pain and suffering.
As a physician I try to have compassion on all who come into my Emergency Department. However, there is a different amount of compassion that I am able to have when someone comes in with an ailment that I have had. I understand that suffering in a tangible and a gut-level way.
God uses our suffering to help us help others who suffer like we have.
There are many other aspects of why God allows suffering that we could address, but I hope that this has given you a foundation upon which to build your understanding.
In closing I would like to quote the late Pastor Charles Stanley:
“Pain and suffering will either make us better or make us bitter.” - Pastor Charles Stanley
Are you focusing more on why God allows pain and suffering than you are about what God might be doing in the midst of your suffering? Is He using this suffering and pain to reveal Himself to you? Is He using it to have you help someone else? Is He using it to strengthen you and build you up in the faith?
Whatever the reason, we know that God is good and merciful and loving. One day we will understand the answer to this question in a much more thorough way than we do today. But until then, I pray that you trust in Christ.
(Slide Closing 1)
This presentation has been put together to strengthen the faith of believers and to challenge the unbelief of others. I pray that you have found this presentation helpful.
Also, please note that this 10-15 minute presentation cannot exhaustively address most issues. My prayer is that it stimulates you to personally research further, and I am assured that you will find the Word of God proven time and time again.
(Slide Closing 2 with outro music)
Feel free to email any ideas you would like to see addressed by emailing me at There are slides prepared for each of these presentations which can be accessed at our church website at and select ATG. God bless and have a blessed week.
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