The other day my oldest son came rushing in the house displaying what seemed to be excruciating pain, a pain you and I can very well relate to: he caught his fingers into the car’s door. Ouch !!! Memories of my own experience of this kind of pain flooded my mind as I tried to comfort him.
Pain has a negative connotation for pretty much everybody. Among the things we would like to remove from this life, if it were possible, pain would definitely be at the top. We don’t like pain. Who does? Pain is … well, painful. Dr. Agostino Villani, an international expert on pain, wrote a book titled, “Pain is not a disease”. Why did he have to write a book about this? I guess because of our view of pain.
Have you ever stopped to think how would life be without pain? I am talking about here in our world. I have not … not until I watched a documentary about a little girl who lived in such a “wonderful” world. She is among about a few hundred people in the whole world who suffer from one of a variety of diseases that make them completely unable to feel pain from the time they’re born.
Experts say early childhood can be treacherous for people with complete insensitivity to pain. They can gnaw endlessly on their tongues and fingers during teething, stick their fingers in their eyes, or suffer major injuries without noticing.
As I watched I couldn’t help but realize: oh – my – gosh (I thought to myself), pain is necessary, pain is part of normal, healthy life after all … pain is good! It is a gift from God for which I should be thankful. I discovered that pain warns us of danger. My issue should not be with pain, but with what triggers it, hmmm …
As I thought about this I started to wonder: could James maybe have this in mind when he asks us to see pain in a positive light (James 1:2-4)? Ok, maybe he is not talking about the physical pain, but isn’t suffering, this non-physical pain, the same reality? We hate suffering and we would do everything we can to avoid it. What if it is a necessary part of life through which God draws our attention and warns us of dangers, of problems we would not be aware of otherwise. After all the Bible does make a pretty clear case that suffering is part of a healthy Christian life and not an anomaly.
How do you see pain? Do you see suffering in your life as a curse or as a blessing? Any thoughts?