Embracing the pain…
Each time I watch brave heroes in action movies, setting their own twisted finger/bone; plucking out bullets from their own bodies, I said how brave and what super tolerance of pain.
Before I had my ankle surgery, a friend told me her doc brother said we do not have to ‘tiis’ (tolerate) pain unnecessarily. I agree that it is wise – what with all the medical advances/meds we have, why bear the pain when there is no need.
But there is another kind of pain, where no painkiller can fix. Pain deep inside the soul: a broken mind, a broken heart, and a broken spirit,
The psalmist has this to say about brokenness:
Psalm 34:18 The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
Psalm 51:17 My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise.
Man is weak in sin. When sin weighs me down, and I suffer its consequences, when I turn to God in a broken humility, He takes my brokenness and replaces it with His presence and His peace.
It is a broken world we live in. Many things we cannot fix and we cannot run away from. Pain and grief are part of realities we face daily.
For Christians, we have assurance that our pain and sufferings are not for nothing. For we know that God works out all things (good and bad) for our good, for those of us whom He calls for His purpose.
My pain allowed me to be compassionate, to sympathise with people who are going through similar pain.
Compassion asks us to go where it hurts, to enter into the places of pain, to share in brokenness, fear, confusion, and anguish. Compassion challenges us to cry out with those in misery, to mourn with those who are lonely, to weep with those in tears. Compassion requires us to be weak with the weak, vulnerable with the vulnerable, and powerless with the powerless. Compassion means full immersion in the condition of being human. (Henri Nouwen)
My pain allowed me to experience fully God’s grace and mercy.
I reflect on the pain He suffered on the cross for my sake. When God turned his face from his own Son, how tortuous it must be for him – as much as it was for Jesus to have His heavenly Father forsake Him. I will always remember how God warmly embraced me when i was going through cancer treatment. How He walked me through the deep dark valley of depression – even when my emotional and mental being denied His presence.
How to embrace pain? To embrace pain is to remember pain. To linger in the memories of pain – to look back and recount how each moment was overcome. Pain of yesterday is a stepping stone to joy today.
Nouwen wisely observed:
The dance of life finds its beginnings in grief……Here a completely new way of living is revealed. It is the way in which pain can be embraced, not out of a desire to suffer, but in the knowledge that something new will be born in the pain.
Are you in pain today, my friend? Take comfort that Jesus, the Son of God and the Son of Man, who became flesh and dwells among us, suffered just like you and me. He knows what you are going through. Let Jesus show you the way to embrace pain.