As I recovered from my unexpected appendectomy on Mother’s Day, I reflected on the purpose of pain. The day before, I had been in tremendous pain. On my way to the hospital, I decided my pain level was an 8, on scale of 0 to 10, because how can one even survive pain that’s a 10? Once at the hospital, I was asked if my pain was burning, stabbing, throbbing, sharp, dull, an ache, a cramp, and I can’t even remember what else. After confirming their diagnosis of appendicitis, I had surgery the next morning. They told me it was a good thing I had not delayed coming in because my appendix would likely have burst in short order. If the pain had been slightly less, I would not have gone in and would have faced a much more serious health condition and operation. In the end my pain was good because it caused me to take action.
It occurred to me that emotional pain can be very much the same. It can be intense, burning, stabbing, a dull ache, encompass your entire being. It can be acute or chronic; good or bad. It can paralyze you or make you act. We may try to ignore or self-medicate to feel better, when in reality, we must deal with the root cause of the pain in order to become healed. Time does help heal emotional wounds, but just like surgery, you are transformed after you come out on the other side. And the ultimate purpose? To be equipped to help others come out the other side healed, improved, strong.
My prayer today is that our pain would not end in bitterness or self-pity, but rather result in growth of our faith and ability to reach out to others experiencing similar issues.
Heavenly Father – As always we ask that you spare us pain and suffering, not just us, but our family and friends too. You know though, that we tend to forget You if we are not brought low by physical or emotional pain. We pray that You would help us to discover the blessings of pain, the opportunities of pain, the growth we can experience in pain. We look forward with hope to our future with You in which we will no longer have pain, fear, suffering or tears. But until then Lord, we pray that we will find Your purpose in our pain and that we could become more tender-hearted and sympathetic to those who are suffering so that we can be Your hands and feet here, taking action and alleviating pain and suffering. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.