A purpose in pain? Who are you kidding? I know many people among us are struggling with pain today. I am frequently in pain with my Crohn’s disease and it is frustrating and at times I cry out to God, “Please take this pain away from me!” I just want it gone. This morning I was reading Isaiah 53–such a rich chapter full of the awesomeness of our God and our savior Jesus Christ. Verses 4 and 5 jumped out at me, “Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. But, he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.” As Christ was tortured and nailed to the cross, people shook their heads and said, “God must be punishing him for some reason. There is no other explanation for why he is going through all this.” How many times have you felt God is punishing you with pain for some reason? I know I’ve felt this many times. What have I done to deserve this? But if you read the verses you understand God was not punishing Christ for anything–there was a purpose to his pain. His pain was to bring us peace and spiritual as well as physical healing. Instead of focusing on what we have done wrong to deserve our pain, we need to ask God what his purpose is for our lives. As hard as it is we need to thank God for what he is going to accomplish through our pain–whether it be to glorify him, to show others God’s magnificent influence in our lives or to help us develop a more intimate relationship with him. One day there will be no more pain, praise God, but if we are given this “cross to bear” let us pray for the strength to look for the purpose so others will see God in us.