Pain never comes at a convenient time, it usually surprises us with its tenacity, and it’s most certainly never welcomed. We’ve created ways to prevent it, minimize it, and treat it. A part of normal life, yet in our western culture pain is a four-letter word (literally!).
How should we respond to pain? And what can we learn from it? (I’m referring to physical pain here, but my comments may apply to emotional, mental, relational, spiritual, and other pain as well.)
1. Expect pain. It’s normal.
2. Find something good in it. For instance, when we’re in a lot of pain, stuff doesn’t mean as much to us. That’s a good thing.
3. Remember, pain won’t last forever.
4. Love what’s most important—your relationship with God and the treasure that is.
5. Allow the pain to make you more compassionate to others, even if you think their pain is less than yours.
Several years ago, I went through weeks of gnawing physical pain and wrote the following selection, “Purpose of Pain,” (written as though Christ were speaking to us):
My child, you focus too much on your hurts.
When you feel like you can’t take the pain,
you are giving it more power than it really has.
Pain, suffering, trials, disappointments are mere vehicles,
means of navigating to the destination I am leading you to.
When you look down, what do you see?
My hands gently holding yours,
my feet leaving a second set of prints beside yours,
my tears . . . falling . . . and mingling along with yours.
Unhindered companionship, precious time together.
You desire relief, but relief is not your real need.
My love is so strong, I could wipe all sadness from your life,
my mercy is so high, I could elevate you above all trials,
my grace is so deep, I could immerse you in pure joy all the time.
But your real need is for me, and that’s exactly what you have.
For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:17-18
(See my book, Our of the Desert: Refreshment, to read more of my writings on pain. You may read the book on my website. Click on “Full screen” on this link.
I’d like to hear your thoughts on pain.