The Purpose of Pain – part 2 of 2
Pain is no fun. We all would probably choose to live in a pain-free world, which would require an injury-free world, because to have an injury without pain could result in avoidable death. But as presented in part 1, pain does have purpose and the ability to feel pain is a gift from God.
But even though pain has positive purpose, it still hurts. Human pain of several kinds – mental, emotional and physical – are interconnected – affecting each others on-set and intensity.
We all have pain in our lives. What do we do about it? We need to ask questions like the following:
- Do I prefer the pain to freedom from the pain? For example, this may be true about those who have been emotionally hurt and refuse to forgive those who have hurt them.
- Is my physical pain caused by emotional injury or mental pain?
- Is this pain really necessary? Or is there something I can do about it?
- How can I handle this pain in the most beneficial way to me and those close to me?
Several years ago I received two phone calls in the same week. The first was from a friend who had lost her husband of 39 years from an unexpected heart attack. The second call was from a friend who just lost a close relative to cancer.
Both women would identify themselves as Christians. Both women were hurting – both were wondering if and when the grief would ever end. Yet their responses to their losses displayed quite a contrast to each other.
The first woman had released her husband and her grief to the Lord. She missed him greatly, but knew he was safe in the Lord’s keeping and that she would see him again some day.
The second woman, who had lost a nephew to cancer, was also a doctor. She was bitter and angry with God. Her statement to me was, “When I see God He will have to answer to me for what He allowed to happen.”
Did the second woman love more deeply than the first woman? Not on your life! Was the first woman more loved by God? No. For God is strong enough to absorb our misplaced anger and disappointment.
There are three situations where pain overwhelmed me, and I was astonished that God did not answer my prayers the way I prayed them.
Auto Accident: A few years ago I was involved in an auto accident, which was not my fault. A driver attempting to pass me on a narrow road side-swiped my car, taking off the outside of my driver-side door. I was taken to court one year later by the insurance company of the owner of the other car. The driver of that car (who was not the owner) lied in court. I had asked God to make truth triumph. But the case was decided in liar’s favor.
What do you do when you’ve been hurt by a lie? When you lose faith in our judicial system
I’ve learned to hold to the facts: God spared my life and the lives of the people in the other car. And God is still in control; He will deal with that man who lied. I wanted Him to deal with that man who lied “now” at the time of the hearing. However, as I look back on that court hearing years later, I want God to deal in mercy instead of judgment.
Broken engagement: Before I met my husband, David, I committed my affections and my future to a handsome young man. I was willing to give up my own plans and aspirations for him. We became engaged. He met someone else. End of love story, beginning of pain.
What do you do when your affection is not returned – when someone betrays your trust? The natural response is to ask, “What’s wrong with me? Was I not attractive enough? Not good enough? What did I do that lost his affection?”
I remember crying out to God, “You don’t know what will make me happy.
After nights of crying and soul searching, I asked God to heal me and to pick my husband for me. I committed my love and trust and aspirations to Him. I found out He did know what kind of man would make me happy – one who would cherish me and our relationship. That’s my husband, David.
Miscarriage: I was pregnant for the first time after 9 years of marriage. I had thanked God for this child. I offered the child to Him. And God took the child before I ever got to hold it.
What do you do when God takes you at your word? “God, this child, husband, person, occupation, object, dream I give to you.” And He takes it.
There is a song we sing at Sunday celebration which says,
“You give and take away, you give and take away, My heart will choose to say, Blessed be your name.”
I decided long ago to let God be God in my life.
You see, I know that it is not our circumstances that hinder our faith, it is our response to our circumstances that hinder our faith walk.
Current Challenge: And now I have the challenge of breast cancer. As I’ve share in an earlier post, God has led me in a different way for dealing with it. But no matter which course you or I or anyone else my chose or be led to take, there is pain involved. I have the pain of people not understanding my choice of “treatment” – those who think I’ve really lost it.
Others who question whether my faith is strong or whether I’ve done something to deserve this.
Pain has a purpose: I am learning more deeply what it means to trust my Heavenly Father’s love.
The Scriptures ask, “When he returns, will He find faith on the earth?” My heart cries out, if He returns in my lifetime, I want more than anything for the answer to be “yes” and I want Him to find that faith in me.
Pain can turn us toward God or away from Him. It’s our choice which direction we want to take. As for me and my house, we will “choose” the Lord.
©2011, Marcy Alves
Posted on July 7, 2011, in Christian Growth, Follow Me, My Journey, Reflections and tagged blame game, Christian life, disappointment, emotional pain, faith, God’s gift, hurt, loss, mental pain, need for healing, pain, physical pain, purpose of pain, trusting God. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.