The blessing of pain
We have all heard stories of people who lose the ability to feel pain. These people tend to cause themselves injury because they don’t get the normal pain warnings. Rather than being a blessing, lack of pain is a curse.
About the time of the lockdowns, I began working out to improve my health. This experience has given me lots of opportunities to reflect on the nature of pain and my reaction to it.
Pain is like a traffic light. When we are feeling no pain, that is the green light to continue with whatever we are doing. Mild aches and strains are the yellow light signaling caution, letting us know to slow down. Acute or stabbing pains are bright red stop signs. We can ignore the yellow and red lights at our peril.
When first exercising unused muscles we frequently feel the yellow warning aches and pains. If we respond to them by careful pacing, we get the green light to work out harder, building up our strength and stamina without injury. If we misinterpret the warnings as stop signs and give up, our abilities won’t grow. If we ignore them altogether we risk serious injury.
This is also true of our emotional and spiritual muscles.
Becoming vulnerable can be painful and beginning to feel sincere empathy for the first time can cause heartaches, but if we don’t pull away or force our feelings too far too fast, that initial empathy can grow into true compassion and love.
As the Apostle Peter learned in Matthew 14:22-33, the first time we accept the invitation to climb out of the boat and step out in faith onto the unknown depths can be extremely uncomfortable. If we rush ahead of God’s leading we can become painfully discouraged, but keeping safe and never testing our trust in God results in failure to grow spiritually. We need to be aware of the Lord’s signals.
Sensitivity to pain is a gift and a tool to help us pace ourselves physically, emotionally, and spiritually. We simply need to learn to recognize the signals and react appropriately.
I am giving you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, so you too are to love one another. By this everyone will know that you are My disciples, if you have love and unselfish concern for one another.John 13:34-36 (AMP)