It may surprise you but pain is not always the enemy we make it out to be. When put in the proper perspective, pain can be our friend and ally.
There is no doubt I am much more acquainted with pain than ever before. Some of the pain I’ve experienced this past year and a half wouldn`t be in the “friend” category but on the other hand, I’m a stronger person because of what I’ve learned and gone through.
One of the voices helping to shape my understanding of pain has been Philip Yancey’s book Where is God When it Hurt? At first glance, we may wonder if “pain” is one of the areas where God has somehow messed up. But after a closer look, pain is often more helpful and valuable than we may first think.
5 shocking truths about pain
1. Pain is a gift.
Without pain we would have no warning signal that something is wrong. People with leprosy have pain sensors that fail to function resulting in lost fingers due to hot stoves and bed sores due to the failure to roll over while you sleep.
Dr. Brand came to appreciate pain by living among people with leprosy. It was he who discovered that leprosy patients suffer for the simple reason that they have a defective pain system (Yancey p. 37).
2. 99% of all pain is short term and correctable.
When pain serves as a warning signal that something is wrong and needs some corrective action, it is truly our friend. Many of our short term pains we experience through the course of living are correctable situations that call for medication, rest or a change in a person’s lifestyle (Dr. Paul Brand).
3. Pain makes normal life possible.
If you are a healthy functioning human being, pain cells in your body are at work all day long. They tell you when to go to the bathroom, loosen your grip on the rake, when to blink and when to roll over in bed. Without pain, we would lead lives of paranoia, defenceless against unfelt dangers.
4. Pain increases your ability to experience joy and pleasure.
When you’ve experience pain, it has a way of turning up your “pleasure” sensors. After every major surgery I would wake up and be eager to push the morphine pump and ask for a cup of cold water which would give me some relief from my pain.
What also happened, after those times of intense pain, I would experience a heightened appreciation for the simple pleasures of life like an engaging conversation, a well cooked meal, or the sun’s rays on my face.
Everywhere a greater joy is preceded by a greater suffering (Augustine).
Happiness will come upon me unexpectedly as a by-product,
a surprising bonus for something I have invested myself in –
and most likely include pain (Yancey).
5. Because the world is broken, not all pain is good.
There is a bigger reality at play here on this planet earth regarding pain. Some pain is a consequence of evil deeds done by people or due to a creation that groans to be renewed due to the fall of mankind. We must learn to cope with this reality too.
In making the world, He set it free. God had written, not so much a poem but rather a play; a play He had planned as perfect, but which had necessarily been left to human actors and stage-managers, who have since made a great mess of it (C.K. Chesterton).
When in your life has pain been your friend?
How do you need adjust your perspective on the way you view pain?
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