In the sitcom M*A*S*H, the fictional surgeon Frank Burns made this profound comment:
I don’t like pain…it hurts me.
Thank you Dr. Burns for being a master of the obvious! By definition, pain is indeed something that hurts us – whether it be physical or emotional suffering. Another truth about pain is we can’t avoid it. So the challenge is not escaping pain, but responding to it.
While there isn’t a single prescription for the pains of life, there are a few things that can help. In his book, The Problem of Pain, CS Lewis writes:
…when pain is to be borne, a little courage helps more than much knowledge, a little human sympathy more than much courage, and the least tincture of the love of God more than all.
In his opinion, Lewis believed that understanding why pain enters our lives is the LEAST helpful “pain reliever.” Instead of great understanding, Lewis contends that a good dose of fortitude in the face of pain goes much further. Better yet is a sympathetic friend – someone with an ear to listen and a shoulder to lean upon. The best analgesic of all, however, is the realization that God’s love is still ours – even in the face of tremendous pain. In fact, through our pain, God is at work perfecting our faith (1 Peter 1:6-7).
When it comes to dealing with pain, what’s in your medicine cabinet? Today, accept that pain is not the removal of God’s love from you. Then courageously face your pain…and call a friend if need be! –Dave
In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 7 These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. (1 Peter 1:6-7)
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