The Purpose of Pain

Why Is There Pain?

Have you ever heard a story that goes something like this?

While getting dressed one morning, a woman in perfect shape notices a seemingly insignificant mole on her skin that doesn’t look normal. Although she can’t remember the last time she had any health concerns, she schedules a Dr. Appointment to get the sore checked out. The woman’s life is shattered a few days later when she is informed she has melanoma. The disease has spread throughout ther body and though she appears healthy and feels fine, the prognosis is grim, she is dying.

Death is cruel, but a disease that eats at the body, silently stealing the precious life of the unsuspecting victim seems even more ruthless. No normal human enjoys pain. Our first reaction when we feel it is to recoil away from its source. The Creator made us this way as a means of physical preservation. Though pain is unpleasant, it becomes an alarm that captures our attention demanding change. When our physical bodies suffer, we immediately want to know what is wrong and how we can fix the problem. Without pain, our bodies would be broken and overcome before we ever had a chance to live. In this bizarre sense, Pain is a blessing.

In medicine, pain is approached in a methodical manner. Doctors look at symptoms, environment, and other factors to determine its source. They don’t simply treat the pain, they search for its origin.

When I broke my wrist, I told the Doctor I was playing basketball, was fouled making a jump-shot, and then broke my fall with my hand, which had absorbed the impact of my body when it hit the ground. With that information gathered, my pain was no longer the focal point. The Doctors focus shifted to the source of my pain, a bulging, disfigured, purple, swollen wrist. The doctor did not try to rid my wrist of the blue hue by applying makeup. He did not use a knife to cut the grotesque bulge away. He did not simply hand me medicine to make my brain and pain receptors oblivious to the discomfort. His job was to go as deep into the anatomy of my wrist as possible pinpointing the source of the pain, so he could fix what was wrong. In my case it was a broken ulna. Once the diagnosis of a break was made, a splint was not put on my foot, balm was not rubbed on my chest. The doctor did not sever the nerves in my wrist and arm so I could not sense the pain caused by the break. The goal was not to rid me of the pain but to deal with its source. The wisdom of the Doctor reasoning was this, “Fix the break and eventually you will get rid of the pain.” My wrist was straightened, the bone was set, and my entire arm from elbow to knuckles was wound inside a protective cast to protect and keep it immobile. I was given a sling, a list of do’s and don’ts, and four weeks later I walked out of the Dr. office with a weak, but perfectly healed wrist.

What Do I Do With My Pain?

Have you ever been held captive by any of the emotions below? Do you relate to any of them right now?

Lonelinees, Fear, Rejection, Sadness, Betrayal, Confused, Discouraged, Insignificant, Invisible, Rejected, Unimportant, Misunderstood, Angry, Worthless, Guilty, Forgotten, Powerless, Weak, Terrified, Skeptical, Violated, Taken Advantage of, Imprisoned, Unloved, Unwanted, Untrusting, Cynical, Cheated…..

All these are pains that torment our souls. As Beth Moore illustrated in her book, “Get Out of that Pit”, sometimes these pains are the result our own sinful actions. Sometimes they are wounds viciously inflicted at the hand of another. Other times they are the result of innocent decisions we have made.

No matter which emotions oppress and crush your heart, there is a reason for the pain, and there is a liberating hope and power at your disposal. It does no good to bury the pain, or to distract ourselves from an oppressive emotion. We can not swap out relationships, activities, and pursuits to find freedom. This pseudo releif from our pain is only a temporary respite. This season of quietness will only last until the disease we have ignored grows larg enough to destroy even those things capeable of still bringing joy, pleasure, and happiness.

When our hearts are broken, our spirits overwhelmed, and our emotions smothering us in a pit we can’t escape, there is but one thing to do, run to the Great Physician. Fall into the arms of your Abba Father, your Daddy. There is a purpose in the pain. There will be an end to the sorrow. Beauty will arise from the ashes. Pain screams there is a problem and the pain demands action.

Over the next few weeks I would like to focus on the topic of pain, it’s source, its purpose, and its cure. I know so many single women struggling with loneliness and the fear they will be alone for the rest of their lives. I am overwhelmed by the number of wives reeling and incapacitated by the pain of betrayal. Our churches are filled with brothers and sisters so weary from battle they wonder if there will be anything left, anything worth fighting for.

Merrit from Livesimplylove, will be joining us in our series about overcoming pain, and I am excited about other guests who have graciously agreed to share on this blog. If you are struggling with loneliness, fear, rejection, loss, or any other pain please feel free to ask questions. If you have been through a dark valley and the Lord has brought you through would you consider sharing your story or insight? If you have blogged on this topic please leave a comment with a link to your site. If you wouold like to guest blog on this topic please let me know and I will put you on the schedule.

My February giveaway will include some amazing books I have read which focus on overcoming the pain in our lives. Stay tuned for the start of the giveaway.

As you go, consider this promise, from God, the Righteous, the True, the Faithful.

Isaiah 43:2
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;

and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;

when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,

and the flame shall not consume you.

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7 comments

  1. Pain is a daily part of my life. I help people get their disability from Social Security, and they deal with pain both physical and mental. I love the analogy of the broken wrist. Pain has a purpose, and it’s not forever. It’s what helps me aid these precious clients that bless me every day. I always tell them, this is not the end of your story, cause your story will have a happy ending. Your just in the middle of the story, don’t give up hope.

    Looking forward to the series!

  2. Thank you Jody, what beautiful words in Isaiah. 2 Corinthians 4:7-12,” But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So death is at work in us, but life in you.”
    Affliction can come in different forms it is always meant to show us Jesus, like you said. Some of the most lovely people I know are those who are in daily pain. They are not in despair , they are clinging to the gospel, living as redeemed, using their time wisely to share the gospel, to shine light into darkness. A single lady recently told me, her excruciating back pain had allowed her to be still and pray for her family members intensively. We will not all suffer persecution as in 2 Corinthians, but we will suffer. Dear sisters like the one mentioned above will inspire the body of Christ to love one another well and help the lost see the Savior, as well as knowing that the power belongs to God and not to us, we are merely jars of clay.

    1. Thank you for sharing that story Stacy. It is such a paradox that one can suffer, and be in the midst of a great dark storm yet be in “perfect Peace.” What a wonderful thing it is, to be a child of the King!

  3. Hmmm…. such an important topic. So many use pain as their “scape-goat” for avoiding God. Yet it is truly, our means to draw near to Him.

    1. Natasha, the “Scape-goat” is a great analogy. Pain in itself can be a hard thing, but pain without a purpose or an hope is down right depressing. I am so very glad I have a Father and Savior who gives hope during trials and grace to gt through to the other side.

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