"The sorrows of death compassed me, and the pains of hell gat hold upon me: I found trouble and sorrow."
Why must there be pain? For practical purposes, this question is not possible to answer, although there are volumes and volumes of books where people have tried. No one knows why or even if pain MUST exist. Just by asking the question, in my mind, is an escape from reality. The fact of the matter is that there IS pain. Pain has been with mankind since the beginning of finite time. Adam and Eve as human beings obviously had the same warning system in their bodies that would deliver a message of pain to their brain if they would put a finger in a fire or touch something sharp, etc etc etc.
A leprosy doctor, Paul Brand, came to understand how valuable pain can be. His patients couldn't feel any pain because the disease had damaged their nerve endings, and they could do things like take freshly-cooked potatoes out of the fire with their bare hands or walk on broken glass with bare feet without stopping to think that they were doing themselves any damage. With some people, if they think they can do something quickly enough that it won't hurt them much, it can be very tempting to do it without taking any precautions. And it must be more tempting to do that kind of thing if one doesn't really think about the consequences because one doesn't feel any pain at all. And then, a person can hurt themselves more than they ever imagined they would.
Sometimes, however, leprosy sufferers hurt themselves without even realizing they're doing anything that might damage them. Leprosy patients are often pictured as having mere stumps for hands and other deformities. But according to Paul Brand, these aren't caused by the disease itself. They can be caused by the careless or unwittingly dangerous acts of the people who have it, putting their hands on hot stoves for example, not realizing they're hot, and then getting serious burns which become infected and eventually cause the hand to be so diseased that it has to be amputated, or just gets so badly burned in the first place that it ends up deformed. One of Paul Brand's patients was digging all day and only at the end of the day realized that the shovel he was using had a nail sticking out of it.
Paul Brand and a team tried to invent a substitute for pain to let his leprosy patients know they were in danger. He tried giving them a hearing aid with a system where a buzzer would go off when they were doing something that might damage them, but they just ignored it. He tried a system of flashing lights, but they ignored those too. He tried a system which would give them electric shocks on a part of their body that was still sensitive like the armpit, but they would turn the system off when they wanted to do something that might set the shock signal off, and switch it back on afterwards. So he realized that the control would have to be out of the person's reach for the system to be effective. He came to greatly appreciate the value of the warning system of pain.
God won't always take people out of their suffering when they ask him to. It may be that he can, but that he sometimes chooses to change the sufferer instead so they can cope with it better. Pain is a reality. It is not an anomaly that exists only to frustrate. It is the way things are as much as the east is east and the west is west. And as long as we reside on planet earth it will continue to be so. Rather than try and short circuit it or find a way around it...we need to learn to live WITH it. I am not saying that some pains cannot be alleviated. But when they cannot, then the only option we have left is to deal with it. Tough reality, but true nonetheless.
Precious in the sight of the LORD
is the death of his saints.
The Old Testament genealogies tell us again and again about various men and women—they lived, and then they died (or, for kings, sometimes we’re told they “rested with their fathers”). Even if death claims a faithful believer at the end of a long illness and is a relief after terrible suffering, it’s still their death that’s “precious” in the eyes of the Lord (Ps. 116:15), not their passing.
The New Testament doesn’t shy away from death either. Yes, Jesus described Lazarus as having “fallen asleep,” but even then he followed up with plainer language: “Lazarus has died” (John 11:11, 14). When Paul describes departed saints as “those who have fallen asleep” (1 Thess. 4:14), he does so not out of politeness or the desire to comfort us by softening the blow but because he wants to emphasize the temporary state of death so we maintain unshakable hope in resurrection awakening. --Trevin Wax; Gospel Coalition