Many people have or do experience pain in their lives. Some of the pain people experience is short-term perhaps you stubbed your toe or you bite your tongue. Some of the pain people experience is more longer-lasting. Perhaps a person suffers from arthritis, has chronic pain from an injury, or perhaps is suffering from a terminal disease which is painful, etc. Pain for many younger individuals, like myself, is something which may come but we often expect it will go away and often it goes away quickly. As people age, they may be more likely to have more long-term pain which stays with them rather than going away quickly. Ecclesiastes 12:2 describes the days of one’s youth as, “While the sun and the light, the moon and the stars, are not darkened, and the clouds do not return after the rain” (NKJV). In our youth, we may go through a time of rain but instead of another cloud arising we get a period of sunlight so to speak. When we undergo a period of pain and long for it to go away, one thing we can consider in those times is the fact there is a pain some will experience which will be never-ending.
It is common to hear people today say, “at least they are not suffering anymore,” when they talk about a person who was in a lot of pain prior to dying. Such would be true for a righteous individual but is not true for the unrighteous. Remember what Jesus taught us in Luke 16:22-25, “So it was that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s bosom. The rich man also died and was buried. And being in torments in Hades, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. Then he cried and said, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.’ But Abraham said, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted and you are tormented’” (NKJV). Lazarus died and entered a place free from pain. While he may have suffered a lot in this lifetime, he went to a place free from pain. The rich man though also died but he entered a place of torment. He may not have experienced much pain in this lifetime but certainly was in a place of severe pain following this lifetime. In reflecting on these words, notice that the rich man cries out for some water to cool his tongue but such is not given to him. When we encounter pain in the life, we can sometimes get something to provide some degree of relief for that pain even if it does not take it away entirely. A person may take medicine, apply ice or heat to the area, or find something else which might relieve their pain. When a person enters torments in Hades, there is nothing which will be made available to relieve the pain such an individual is undergoing.
The place of final punishment for the wicked is also described as a place of never-ending pain. Jesus describes hell as a place where, “There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matthew 8:12; 24:51; 25:30, NKJV). Jesus also describes hell as a place of fire which is never quenched (Mark 9:43-48). Jude speaks of people, “suffering the vengeance of eternal fire” (Jude 7, NKJV). It hurts to get a little burn on your finger from just briefly getting it into contact with something hot. If hell is described as a never quenched fire, it is certainly a place of never-ending pain. Revelation 14:10-11 says of some, “He shall be tormented with fire and birmstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever; and they have no rest day or night, who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name” (NKJV). Here is pain which never stops and which never lets up for a period of time. Think about the phrases, “forever and ever,” and, “they have no rest day or night.” Many other passages speak about the eternal nature of the punishment which the wicked will face (Matthew 25:46; 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9, etc.). Maybe when we are going through a period of pain in this life let it serve to motivate us to avoid going to a place where there will be never-ending pain.
In contrast to the final punishment of the wicked, the final abode of the righteous is described as a place free from pain and suffering. Revelation 21:4 says, “And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away” (NKJV). Maybe we are undergoing some sort of pain in this life which seems like it will not cease as long as we are upon the earth. If so, maybe we can look forward to that place where we will eternally be free from pain. Let’s do what it takes so we can enter that wonderful city and avoid a place of never-ending pain (Revelation 22:14-15; 2 Thessalonians 1:6-9).