One of the realizations we all embrace at some point is that pain is going to happen. Sometimes we know the hurt is coming and other times it hits us suddenly. It’s okay though, because pain serves many useful purposes. So I’m going to talk about what pain is, why it’s good sometimes, and how to deal with it.
Pain can present itself in several different fashions, but regardless of how it appears, it is something we feel. We can feel it physically, emotionally, and even spiritually. It’s okay though and it all falls within God’s plan. It’s one of the things God carefully masterminded to follow the fall of man in the Garden of Eden (Gen 3:14-19). In fact, it had to happen because pain is a key to understanding in many circumstances. So let’s talk about the different types.
Pain, Show Yourself!
We all know about physical pain. We learn it early in life as a child. Maybe it’s from getting spanked on the behind or falling off a swing. A small child may even make a mistake and get too near a flame. Yes, it may sting, but it teaches a valuable lesson. The child is less likely to become disobedient, swing too high at the playground, or approach too near a flame. It may have hurt at first, but hopefully the knowledge and understanding that manifested is now a tool for growth. What once hurt is now a tool in our chest that can guide us through similar dangers and maybe even save us from something far worse.
Now one last thing. Let’s talk about leprosy. When a person becomes leprous, they are literally rotting away and they lose sensation throughout their body. It’s such a dangerous condition that you can easily lose a finger or toe prematurely for simply not knowing it has encountered something dangerous. I’m telling you this, because when the pain is taken away, we also take away the gift of warning that pain gives us. A red alert to get us to stop what we’re doing and reconsider our actions.
Next we have emotional pain. Sometimes we do it to ourselves, sometimes someone else puts us through it, and sometimes it’s a scary combination of both. Arguably it can be far worse than physical pain. Why? Because emotional pain can’t easily be numbed. It can haunt us in our sleep or even in the future when all seems to be going well. It can also destroy relationships and try to take away our hope. There is no morphine for emotional pain. As long as we can remember with our head and our heart, we can be haunted by it.
Finally, we have spiritual pain. To me, this is when you are driven either closer or further away from God. Sometimes we have that hunger and it hurts. We just want someone to give us a serving of God, and we feel empty and starving until we get Him. Other times we experience God’s love and we pull away from it. Love is a wonderful thing that grips us tightly, and when we flee from it, it’s going to cause some pain. That is why we must stay close to God and stay within His grip. By God’s own will, He will not allow you to be snatched away, but you still need to do your part because true love is a two way street (John 10:27-30).
Overcoming Pain (No Matter the Cause)
In all things we must overcome in life, we must find the root. You can not strike something down unless you know what it is and can locate it. Imagine going through a forest trying to chop down an oak tree, but all the trees are invisible. How would you do it? You may take your sharp axe to a root, but what if it’s the wrong one? The only way to chop down the oak is to hit the root dead on, and to do that you must be able to locate it.
So if your pain is physical, we must know what is making us feel the pain. Is it too much of something, too little, or maybe we just weren’t being careful. Of course if we are bruised or bleeding, we treat the wound and hopefully we’ll be feeling better in a jiffy.
Now say it’s emotional pain, the root must also be found. If it’s a bad relationship, the root is the culprit causing the hurt or maybe what is influencing the behavior(s) involved. Is someone cheating? Well then the cheating is exactly the root we must strike. If you don’t strike that root, then how will it ever stop? You must strike down the root, that way you can either repair the relationship or move on. Sometimes it may be something more personal, in the singular sense, such as anger or frustration. In those cases, we must find the root which would be what is causing the anger or frustration, then chop it down.
Last of all, dealing with spiritual pain. Spiritual pain can be tricky, because physical and emotional experiences tend to influence spiritual thinking. In fact, one of the four seeds Christ talked about in the Parable of the Sower was that which got choked out by the cares of this world (Matt 13:22). But it’s not limited to just that. Sometimes we can be like Jonah and run from God. The end of the book of Jonah was not pretty. The man was ready to give up and wither away. The root was in his apathy, and that apathy was exactly what God had to reveal to him (Jonah 4:8). Jonah is a fun story to a lot of us, but the story wasn’t very fun for Jonah when he lived it. What if he would have dealt with his apathy sooner? Maybe he would’ve followed God from start to finish and never felt the same apathy for his own life that he felt for the Ninevites. When we don’t knock out these roots, they’re just going to grow into something bigger and more hideous.
One day we will have a life free from the sorrows of this world, but until then we must endure. We must carry around our axe and chop down the roots that try to hurt us, but sometimes we must be hurt by them first so that we know that they are there and what they are, then we can strike them down. So why would I be glad? Because I learn from it. The Bible tells us to give thanks in all things (1 Thess 5:18). Shouldn’t that include pain? I hurt sometimes, but my hurt reminds me that I am alive and in need of grace from our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, so that He can take those burdens and change them into blessings. Thank you for reading and God bless.
2 Cor 12:9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
What are some things in your life that are causing you pain?
What do you think is the root of that pain and how can you chop it down with your axe?