One of the first clues that something was wrong with little Megan showed up when her baby teeth were coming in. She’d chew her lips bloody in her sleep and bite through her tongue while she was eating. When she was three, she laid her hands on a hot pressure washer in the backyard. Didn’t cry, just stared bewildered at the red blister in her palm. Megan was diagnosed with a rare condition that makes her unable to feel pain. She gulps down scalding hot food with no internal warning that she’s hurting herself. One child with this same condition had appendicitis that went untreated until her appendix burst and there was no pain. Well, last I knew, Megan was five and her inability to feel pain was downright scary.
I’m Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about “Life-Saving Pain.”
At first thought, you might say. “Oh, it would be nice not to feel pain,” but only on first thought. God has given us pain as His internal warning system that something is wrong, something that will cause us far more pain, or even kill us if we don’t deal with it. Pain is our friend. It’s our life-saving friend – not only physically, but spiritually.
God has built into our soul a capacity to feel guilty when we do something wrong. We might call guilt moral pain. Feeling guilty, and feeling shame over what we have or haven’t done, feeling dirty inside – those aren’t nice feelings. But they’re God’s alarm to deal with what’s wrong before it causes greater pain, or even spiritual death.
In Psalm 32, which is where we find our word for today from the Word of God, David candidly pours out what moral pain feels like and two ways to respond to the pain. He tried them both. He begins with this conclusion: “Blessed is he whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord does not count against him.” Now, there’s a declaration of spiritual freedom!
But first came the pain. David says, “When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long.” He’s talking about a deep soul anguish that he couldn’t even put into words. “Day and night, your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer.” Maybe these are feelings you know all too well – that heavy weight. Turns out to be the weight of God’s hand on you: the dwindling energy – dwindling enthusiasm for life, the dark feelings of shame and guilt, the fear of getting caught. Moral pain, given to you by God, not to make you miserable, but to make you well.
Your guilt isn’t meant to crush you. It’s meant to save you. And David got the message. He said, “Then I acknowledged my sin to You and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the Lord’ and You forgave my sin.'” Guilt removed – pain over.
It can be that way for you if you’ll quit trying to rationalize your sin, or cover up your sin, or justify it. The longer you refuse to repent of your sin, the more God’s going to turn up the pain and the higher price you’re going to pay. Not because He doesn’t love you, but because He does, too much to let you keep going down a road that’s destroying you.
The message from heaven to your heart today is the summons from Acts 3:19 – “Repent and turn to God so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord.” Relief from your pain, healing for your heart, cleansing for your soul – you’ll find them at the foot of the cross of Jesus where everything you’ve done was paid for in full with His blood.
Maybe you’ve never personally in your heart gone to that cross and said, “Jesus, what You did there is for me your dying for every wrong thing I have ever done, and I’m tired of the guilt. I want to be forgiven. I want to be clean.” Would you tell Him that today, put your life in His hands? Put your total trust in Him to be your own Savior from your own sin. And it is done! You are forgiven. It could happen today.
Our website is set up just for this kind of a moment where you’re considering beginning a relationship with Jesus. Go there! There’s information that will help you cross the line. That website is ANewStory.com.
You know that pain in your soul? Listen to it. It’s life-saving pain.