Do you know that pain is essential to both your physical and spiritual life? In this post, let me share with you what pain can teach us and how it can help us in our Christian walk.
Did you ever wish that you don’t feel pain anymore? If yes, then you’re not alone. Most people would like to live a life free of pain. However, have you really thought of what life would be like without pain?
Living a life without pain
There’s a rare medical condition that you probably haven’t heard of. It’s called Congenital Insensitivity to Pain (CIP). There are less than a thousand known cases of CIP around the world.
People who have CIP has an inability to feel pain. Growing up with CIP is tough. Most parents would tell you stories how their babies won’t cry when they are hungry or are having a diaper rash. Toddlers would intentionally bump their head against the wall or fall down on their face thinking that it’s a fun way to play.
CIP patients often suffer from burns. They could dunk their hands on scalding hot water without flinching or touch a hot oven without shedding a tear.
Because of the inability to feel pain, CIP patients injure themselves without even knowing it. Worse of all, their condition may lead to their death if they don’t effectively identify pain.
The purpose of pain
There’s a reason why we feel pain. It serves a purpose to ensure our survival.
Without pain, we couldn’t detect there’s something wrong in our body. It acts as an early warning mechanism to prevent further bodily harm. Because we don’t like pain, it motivates us to avoid dangerous situations.
In short, pain is essential to life.
Experiencing pain with a purpose
Whether we like it or not, pain can serve as a blessing rather than a curse. Now, I’m not saying that we are not to avoid pain. In fact, we must do our best to free ourselves of UNNECESSARY pain and suffering. I would be the first person to say that we must have the wisdom to make the right decisions in life to ensure that we have an abundant and comfortable life.
But here’s something that we must not forget: pain is a normal part of life.
There are times that no matter how much we want to avoid pain, it will happen. It’s not a matter of if, but it’s a matter of when. As long as we are composed of flesh and blood, pain is there to remind us that we are still humans.
Christians are not immune to pain and suffering. In fact, you must even expect that it will come in your life if you accept Christ’s invitation to carry your cross and follow Him.
The Apostle Peter wrote:
For THIS IS COMMENDABLE, if because of conscience toward God one endures grief, suffering wrongfully. For what credit is it if, when you are beaten for your faults, you take it patiently? But when you do good and suffer, if you take it patiently, this is commendable before God (I Peter 2:19-20).
Peter is telling us that if you suffer because of doing good, then you are approved by God. What you do is commendable and praiseworthy to Him!
All of a sudden, your pain and suffering have a purpose. You are not suffering in vain. You are suffering for God and when that happens, you will receive your reward in due time – if not in this lifetime, then it will be given in the life to come.
The secret to happiness
Do you know why most people are miserable, depressed, and sad? Because they don’t accept the fact that pain is a normal part of life. The sooner you realize this, the sooner you’ll be happy.
The Bible tells us:
My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.
Well, that is a statement completely contrary to our human nature. Our natural response to trials is to pity ourselves, be depressed, and even curse God.
However, we are called to take the high roads. We must count it all joy when trials afflict us because, like what James said, it tests our faith and when we pass this test, it produces patience and patience moves us closer to completeness and perfection.
Here’s something to think about: the moment you start living, you start dying.
That’s the grim fact of life. Everything on this earth that has life will one day die. You can’t demand God for a painless life, but you can certainly ask God for strength to have a victorious life.
Let pain make you stronger
Bruce Lee, one of the greatest martial artists of all time, was once quoted to say, “Don’t pray for an easy life, pray for the strength to endure a difficult one.”
Mohammad Ali is considered to be one of the best boxers in history. It wasn’t by accident that he became a champion that he was. He didn’t become strong because he overslept comfortably in his bed, eat a lot of delicious but non-nutritious food, or avoid as much pain as possible.
When asked about his training, he said, “I don’t count my sit-ups; I only start counting when it starts hurting because they’re the only ones that count.”
Louis Zamperini, a WWII veteran who survived the Japanese death camp said, “A moment of pain is worth a lifetime of glory.” There’s even an inspiring movie about Zamperini entitled, “Unbroken” that portrays his experience as a soldier. I highly recommend that you watch this movie as well.
As what they say, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”
Peter continued in his writing:
Beloved, DO NOT THINK it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you.
But REJOICE to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy.
If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. On their part He is blasphemed, but on your part He is glorified (I Peter 4:12-14).
Peter is telling us that we must not be surprised when trials happen to us as if they are something strange. We must not believe that we are exempted from life’s trials just because we are Christians.
Instead what we must do is to rejoice because we have been partakers of Christ’s suffering. We can be exceedingly glad and joyful in the fact that Christ will one day return to this earth and with Him is our reward.
Therefore, we must NEVER use pain and suffering as an excuse to compromise our beliefs and principles. It must not be a reason for us to quit.
Pain is given. As long as we live, there will be pain in our lives. You could never have a perfect and painless life. However, the way we respond to pain would make a big difference.
Suffering is there not to destroy us, but instead, it is there to help us grow and develop godly character. Yes, it may feel uncomfortable, but it too shall come to pass.
Pain is only temporary, but God’s reward is eternal.
So, the next time you experience a trial in your life, count it with joy knowing that through pain and suffering you become stronger. Don’t disdain pain but rather accept it as a normal part of life. If it comes because of following God, then let it come.
If we suffer for God’s sake, then we will be commended for that. If we endure until the end, our reward will be sure. Don’t let pain stop you from following God, but rather use pain to learn life’s lessons and become closer to Him.