When the Israelites were poised to enter the Promised Land, God warned them about forgetting Him in their prosperity. Prior to this point, Israel had wandered in the wilderness for 40 years. Every day they would come out of their tents and find manna waiting for them like the morning paper. They would eat it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Then God would guide them through the wilderness with a cloud by day and fire by night. They were completely dependent upon Him for everything.
But then God brought them to the brink of the Promised Land. They could see the lush, green hills and flowing rivers. They had probably heard about the cluster of grapes the Israelite spies had brought back with them—a cluster so large that two men had to carry it. So they could hardly wait to finally enter Canaan. But God essentially said, "Now watch out, because when you get there, the danger is that you will forget all about Me."
Often it is during times of prosperity that we will forget God. Prosperity has a tendency to make people proud and self-sufficient. We don't think we need God when we have our salary and our investments and our career and our home and our health and our family. But when an economy goes south or a stock market crashes or a home burns down, then hopefully we turn to God and are reminded of what really matters. Adversity levels us and keeps us humble.
You see, when pain hits, when tragedy strikes, we pray—and we pray a lot. Pain reminds us of a deeper need: the need for God in our lives. So we should not always be so afraid of pain, because God can use it to bring us closer to Him.