I’ve become very aware lately that as a culture we have somehow gotten an idea in our heads that pain is always a bad thing…unless it comes to something like sports or exercise, in which “no pain, no gain” is a very acceptable slogan. We treat physical pain with drugs, nearly immediately it seems. And our country has insane out of control abuse of pain killers. We treat emotional pain like something that should never happen and we focus on being “happy” all the time and we come up with platitudes about only sharing your life with those who never “hurt” you. We as Christians even come up with completely unbiblical sayings or twist scripture to make it seem like pain isn't even a real thing.
But are we possibly missing some blessings in the form of pain? Can pain ever be good? Ever useful? Ever just plain necessary?
What about the pain of disappointment over not getting something you really want?
What about the pain of losing a loved one?
What about the pain of childbirth?
What about the pain of your child being angry at you for sticking with the consequences of a broken rule?
What about the pain of sacrificial love for a spouse?
What about the pang of pain in your heart as you pack up baby clothes?
What about the pain associated with vaccinations?
What about the pain of sore muscles from a long, honest day of physical labor?
What about the pain that comes with a broken bone or an infected appendix?
I could go on and on and on. So…is pain ever good?
Let’s take the last, for example…is the pain of either of those physical conditions a good thing? Initially some would say “NO”! But if we didn’t have the pain, how would we know about the physical condition that needs attention?
What about the pain of disappointment? If we never walked through the valley could we ever appreciate the view from the top of the mountain?
The pain of loss…that’s a hard one! But, if we never lost a loved one…would we rapidly start neglecting and taking for granted the important people in our lives?
What about the pain of childbirth? Many would say it’s a “curse” from the original sin…which it might be. But I think it’s also a blessing from God in disguise. As a woman who has delivered 2 babies with no medical pain mediation what-so-ever I can tell you getting through the pain of natural childbirth will give you confidence in your own body like nothing else will.
What about the pain Jesus suffered through His crucifixion? He was the living Son of God, 1 and the same with the creator of the universe. And He saw the value, the benefit, the NECESSITY of pain and he gladly, lovingly, sacrificially endured it for our sins.
So…is pain good? Is it bad? Is it necessary?
As a culture have we put too much emphasis on either avoiding pain or just pretending it doesn’t exist instead of learning from it, valuing it, and learning to be joyful and content through the pain? How will it affect our future?