Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Oh the PAIN!

Pain can cause us to move our eyes off others and put them on our self. Not to say that it is never right to think of ourselves, but when we are in pain and misery, it's disables us from being as caring and giving as we are when we aren’t in pain.

For the first time, I saw through the eyes of those miserable cranky people who are always in physical pain, ones suffering from some horrible chronic ailment. After a while you think “ok we get it, you are in pain get over it and stop being so miserable!” But for them every single day is a struggle. Their pain medicine makes them miserable, and the pain is real. They can’t eat, they can’t sleep, they can’t enjoy life.

When I was hurting, the last thing I wanted to do was go out of my way for someone else. What I really wanted was to lay in bed, crying. I didn’t want to cook because I couldn’t eat what I cooked. I didn’t want to move because moving hurt. I didn’t think about anything but how much pain I was in. I couldn’t concentrate or focus. Two whole weeks of my life went by in a complete blur. I couldn’t imagine feeling that way every day of my life forever. I have a renewed compassion for others who are hurting.

What is important to note is not all pain is physical. Some people experience real emotional pain that is just as disabling. However, since others don’t share their pain, their attitude is the same as above “get over it!” Emotional pain can cause us to look at only our self yet again and not look to help others. It can make us want to lay in bed and cry, unable to eat, sleep, think or enjoy life.

The good news is we have a Healer. God is willing in each an every single case of pain to bring relief and healing. Sometimes we have to do something first to “earn” our healing. I don’t like the word earn, because healing is a gift, but for the sake of understanding, that is how I will choose to put it. Sometimes we have to “earn” our healing by learning an important lesson. Other times, we have to step out in faith and believe for our healing, standing on God’s word as our foundation. Still other times God calls us to step out and do things, working through our pain, to serve others. Taking our eyes off ourselves and serving others can bring healing. Sometimes we need to forgive someone else. Sometimes we need to apologize to someone. Sometimes we need to confess sin to someone else. Sometimes we need to let something go. That healing is there, waiting for us, we just need to gain access to it.

I am glad to say today is my first pain-free day since my tooth extraction. I am feeling wonderful and ready to give. But what I see in hindsight is the cloud of selfishness that moves in when I am not feeling my best. When I am sick or hurting, I am not willing to serve others. There is not one verse in the bible that says “serve others only if you feel like it.”

Christ served us even in his death, an excruciating death. He could have said “it hurts too much, I don’t feel like enduring this pain for someone else today.” The good news is he didn’t give up, and through His strength, I don’t have to give up either. Even on my worst of days, I only have to lay myself down, not so others can trample me, but so that Christ within me will rise and up serve, just as he did 2000 years ago. Through his life giving power, I can have the strength to give more of myself, even if I feel like I have no life left in me.

If he has called me to it, he will see me through it!


Tracy:D said...

As one who spent years struggling with the emotional type of crippling pain, I found that the healing was immediate, but the behavior didn't follow so quickly because a renewing of my mind was required. So while I was walking out of it, still dealing with it day after day, there was a line of thought that was not helpful and one that was.

I found no motivation or help in thinking, "I have to get up and serve others because God says I have to."

Where I found my strength and encouragement was in the promise from 2 Corinthians 12:9a. "But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." (NIV)

It gave me just enough encouragement (and curiosity) to want to see what the Lord would do with me in that condition if I'd just try. I was always amazed, so I kept trying and now I'm free of it.

"Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me." (2 Corinthians 12:9b NIV)