The value of pain

You can’t bring a cup of cold water to someone if you’ve never thirsted
You can’t heal a heart if your heart’s never been broken
You can’t forgive a sin that you’ve never done
Or you never thought you could do
Put that bandage away it’s too small to cover the wound
–  from “Cup of Cold Water” by John Fischer

When it comes to standing in someone else’s shoes and feeling what others feel, the most frequently neglected area in which we do this is in the area of pain.

We live in a society obsessed with pain relief. Doctors, druggists, chiropractors, psychiatrists and psychologists are all banded together in this fight against the common enemy: pain – both physical and mental. Rarely do you hear that pain might be a good thing, but it can be. It may not be good in and of itself, but it can be good in what it accomplishes. What can pain accomplish?

Pain opens us up to our real need.
Pain helps us identify with others.
Pain reminds us of our limitations.
Pain can open up your heart, if you let it.
Pain grounds us in our humanity.
Pain is a big part of love; you can’t live, and you can’t love, without it.

All those country songs about love and heartbreak may not be so trite after all. If love doesn’t hurt, then it’s not very deep. Ask Jesus about the pain of love, and He could point to a cry still rattling around the universe, “My God, why have you forsaken me?”

We spend billions of dollars trying to get ourselves pain-free, when pain is perhaps one of the most important ways we can touch another human being. It’s one thing to share the same joy — high five at a football game over a touchdown, or share a kiss on New Year’s Eve — it’s another, deeper thing to share the same pain.

Some people are convinced that they are alone in their pain — that no one else has experienced the pain they feel — until someone comes along who has, and suddenly, they are not alone any longer. It doesn’t make the pain any more bearable, but it does make a relationship possible.

Sandie, whom I quoted in yesterday’s Catch, wrote today that a friend of hers in a similar situation as Brittany, the cancer patient who received a lot of attention in the news by choosing to make her suicide experience public, read yesterday’s Catch and realized Sandie was not condemning her for considering the same course of action.

“Truthfully, I dare not delve into those areas,” wrote Sandie. “Truly, in this case God’s thoughts are higher than my feeble attempt would be! My heart continues to be wrenched for Brittany, and now for my friend who knows that I love her no matter what she decides. I pray that my heart never heals from these wounds. As you said in a song, ‘You can’t heal a heart if your heart’s never been broken.’”

I pray that my heart never heals from these wounds. If you understand this statement, then you understand the value of pain.

mw

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4 Responses to The value of pain

  1. Krabbenhoft, Kevin C says:

    That is great marketing….
    ‘’The value of Pain !’’

    Kevin Krabbenhoft

  2. Sandie says:

    On the subject of pain, I highly recommend a book I am reading for the second time – Where Is God When It Hurts by Philip Yancey. Also appropriate is his Disappointment With God, and Dobson’s book, When God Doesn’t Make Sense. What I’ve read has highly sensitized me to the pain others suffer, as well as my own.
    Glad I jogged your memory about your song John – the words are so fitting!

  3. Kathy says:

    Thank you Sandie for being there for your friend no matter what! There is actually NO WAY to put yourself in her shoes, so the only thing left is to care for her, be there, and love her. I know that when the time comes for me to make the decision, my friends will be there for me no matter what their beliefs are, and for that matter, no matter what I may or may not believe. I have a feeling that John and Marti might have to open this forum for discussion sooner than they think.

  4. I find it distressing that our society today does not value pain. We are so conditioned to fear pain, death and aging to the point where we’ll do anything to avoid it. Yet without it, how will we see God’s glory? Of course, the eternal fear of pain is exactly what God used to drive home the enormity of Jesus’ sacrifice for our sakes, but in our world today, we’ve become conditioned to feel that unless we’re strong and vital, able to fight wildcats when we’re past 90 and — of course — sexually in our prime, we’re not living worthwhile lives. And for Heaven’s sake, don’t let us become a burden to others! All this, plus the obsession we have with “being in control”, leads to a situation where God doesn’t have a chance! People in a position like Brittany’s need to hear the message that all things are opportunities for God to be glorified. If the Holy Spirit gives us the words, we can tell people in such situations that message without seeming to judge or condemn them. Otherwise, are we not washing our hands of our responsibility as a friend and brother or sister in Christ?

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