Here are 3 possible reason God is allowing you to go through emotional suffering and pain in your life.
1. God May Be Allowing This Emotional Suffering in Your Life Because He Wants a Deeper Relationship with You
In Romans 5:3-5, we are taught that through seasons of suffering, God will produce in us endurance, character, and hope which will then enhance our ability to enjoy the love of God which the Holy Spirit has placed within our hearts.
When we are in these seasons of pain, however, we can still wonder why God couldn’t teach us these lessons in a “nicer” way. Did we really need to suffer like this to learn this lesson? While pain and suffering are never enjoyable, God often allows them in our lives because he loves us so much, he is willing to allow us to experience short term problems so we will reap long-term pleasures in him.
Oftentimes nothing awakens us and causes us to seek God’s presence more than pain. And since God’s presence is what will produce the most pleasure in us (Psalm 16:11), the pain we experience is actually meant to produce more pleasure since the pain is meant to lead us deeper into Christ. For as C.S. Lewis said in his famous book called The Problem of Pain:
We can ignore even pleasure. But pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”
Pain is often one of God’s most powerful tools in the purifying process. God wants us to be pure so we will remain intimately close to him, for as Jesus said in Matthew 5:8, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”
So one reason God allows emotional suffering in our lives is because he knows that sometimes there is nothing that will increase our passion to pursue him more than this pain. And when we seek the Lord and find his love and comfort, we experience far more joy and satisfaction in the Lord than the suffering we endured.
2. God May Be Allowing You to Suffer Emotionally So You Will Admit Your Need for Healing in a Certain Area of Your Heart and to Prevent You from Repeating Past Mistakes
The reasons for emotional pain are multi-layered. It would be an oversimplification to say that God causes all the suffering in our lives or that we alone cause all the pain in our lives. Sometimes God can bring a test and at other times we create the trial through our own poor choices.
In either case, the emotional pain we experience can always be used by God for the same reason. Just like the pain we feel in our bodies, the emotional pain we experience is also telling us something important. If you have a pain in your leg, this means something is wrong with your leg. If you have a pain in your chest, this could mean you are having a heart attack. When you put your hand on a hot surface, the pain you feel causes you to move your hand which prevents further injury. The location of the pain and type of pain you experience in your body was put their by God so you can know what is wrong with you and what you need to do to take care of yourself. To treat all pain the same would be foolish. If your leg hurts, you need different treatment than if you are having a heart attack.
These same principles are true when it comes to emotional pain. The suffering you are experiencing internally is meant to tell you something. Just as physical pain is a symptom of a specific problem with your body, emotional pain is a symptom of a specific problem in your heart.
So the goal is not really to stop the pain or avoid the pain. A doctor who just numbed your broken leg so you didn’t feel the pain rather than putting a cast on it would not be a very good doctor. Likewise, the real goal should be to find the root cause of the emotional suffering. Why are you hurting emotionally? Were you abused by someone? Did you abuse someone? Have you been engaging in sinful behavior you know displeases the Lord? Has someone hurt you and you know you need to forgive them? As C.S. Lewis said:
Mental pain is less dramatic than physical pain, but it is more common and also harder to bear. The frequent attempt to conceal mental pain increases the burden: it is easier to say ‘My tooth is aching’ than to say ‘My heart is broken.’”
So one reason God allows emotional pain in your life is so that you will seek out the healing your heart needs. If we did not feel pain, we would often just allow our hearts to remain broken and wounded.
God will also allow emotional pain when we sin and turn from him so we remember this pain and don’t do this again in the future. The sooner you acknowledge the true source of the emotional suffering you are going through and then address that issue with the Lord, the sooner the emotional suffering will go away.
There’s always a reason for the emotional pain you feel, and you have to figure out what that reason is so you can bring it to the Lord.
3. God May Be Allowing You to Suffer Emotionally So You Will Be Better Equipped to Help Others in Their Times of Need
There are many other possible reasons for why God might be allowing suffering in your life, but one reason that we often overlook is that our suffering can often result in relief for others. Notice what Paul said 2 Corinthians 1:3-5. It states:
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too
Those who are able to bring the greatest comfort to others are often the ones who have suffered the most themselves. If you have asked God to use you greatly and to transform you into a mighty warrior for the Kingdom of God, the training process will often involve many seasons of suffering. For even Jesus became our greatest source of comfort through the sufferings he endured himself, for as Hebrews 4:15-16 states:
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”
So one reason God allows us to suffer emotionally is so we will be better equipped to help others in their times of need as well.