Pain—What's It Good For?

We do everything to avoid it.
When we have it, we do what it takes to remove it.
What’s its value?
Pain changes how we walk when we have a blister—so the blister doesn’t get bigger.
Pain makes us stop what we’re doing to address the immediate need.

What about chronic pain?
That dull throb that’s always there. We soon ignore it.
We function around it.
But it’s there.
We adjust to it. Compensate for it. Slow down with it.

I recently had a series of tests for numbness in both feet.
They tested my nerves. FINE.
They considered the swelling in my feet. The pediatrist recommended an MRI, since it was both feet.
The MRI showed nerves pinching and arthritis. (This was after a year's worth of various tests that showed nothing.)
The pain doctor recommended a procedure to kill the nerves causing the pain, but only after numbing them twice to verify the right nerves.
After the first numbing (that only lasted four hours), I realized how much pain had changed me.
I had energy and range of movement. I had life back again. 
But alas, that only lasted four hours.

I returned for the second numbing before the final zap to the nerves.
It was hard to return to the pain after four hours of freedom.
Then I returned a third time for the ZAP that would kill those particular nerves.
It would take several weeks for things to settle down, before we would know if it succeeded. 
In the meantime, I had another surgery. 
It would do nothing for the numbing of my feet and cramping that brought me to the doctor to start.
But if I worked, I wouldn’t be disabled by pain. If it worked…

But that is only physical pain.
What happens when people experience deeper pains–pains of the heart?
Loss of a spouse, child or best friend.
A child not listening to God. A spouse not caring.

Grief progresses through seven stages: disbelief or shock, denial, guilt, anger, bargaining, depression, then acceptance. 
A person moves back and forth between stages as they progress through their grief. 
But if they never complete the stages, they do not heal.
Instead they become bitter, cynical, like a cancer eating away their soul.
Children wait to grieve for the adults to complete their grieving.

Grieving effects not only emotions, but can manifest itself in physical ailments: insomnia, panic attacks, anxiety, memory loss, disorientation, nightmares or vivid dreams, to name a few.

With death, people often are surrounded with temporary support, but the person must pursue the grief on his own.
My mother-in-law remembers dates. She calls her friends a year later after their spouse or loved one died, to ask, "How are they doing?" What a ministry!

What about those hidden pains?
Child or sexual abuse— even though the person has grown, there are scars, fears and faulty coping mechanisms.
A spouse involved in pornography?
A broken marriage?
Is healing possible?

Those situations involve forgiveness.
You’ve been wronged.
It’s different from grief where there’s no wrong only loss.

There’s a difference between forgiveness and restoration. 
You must forgive someone from abuse or wrong, (and may have to repeat that forgiveness as Christ told Peter 70 x 7, when the offense is repeated, or when those memories come back and your mind must forgive again), but that is not the same as restoration.
I forgave my dad for his choices, but when he died, I grieved, not for what I had, but for the relationship I never had.
Those who never had a father-figure in their lives grieve that same loss.
Relationships are built on trust. 
In the case of a spouse. You may forgive, but the relationship is severed. 
Trust must be earned back. Proven. 
Not impossible. But requiring time and work on both sides.

But getting back to pain.
Without pain, we don't change.
Without pain, we think we can do it.
And we can.
But God wants us to acknowledge Him IN—ALL—THINGS.
Pain slows us down from OUR AGENDA, to ask Him what He wants.

Ever notice when someone is sick, what do they do?
Ask for prayer.
Are they praying before they are sick?
Not so much.
But by our weakness, we look to God.

God gave Paul a weakness that Paul asked God three times to remove. 
God did not.
Paul accepted that weakness, not resentfully, but with joy that he might know, through his own weakness, the power of God.

Pain causes us to slow down and remember Him.
Our pride keeps us from acknowledging our needs.
It's that pride thing.
That root of all evil, not only for Satan but for us, that keeps us from coming to God.
We can do it, after all.

When we look to Him and pray, we want something…a quick fix, an easy surgery—So we can get back to OUR Life.
How selfish we live our lives! Yet we think we please God by our busy-ness. and token service.

God wants us, not to look at what He can give us, but look at Him.
He’s missed our fellowship.
He wants us to talk with Him.
The God, Who made the universe, Who holds it together by His spoken Word, wants us to WANT to be in His presence.
That's why He made us.

Why are we so busy? With What?
What is more important than God?

When I slow down and sit at His feet, know what happens?
I acknowledge my weakness, I find His strength.
The pain may still be there, but I don’t feel it.
God makes His presence known.
And His peace surrounds me.
I experience His love.

It’s for us to know Him.

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I write about what you---
women, wives and moms---
about your family, faith and future.
I write about what's hard, what helps and what heals.
I show you how it's done. And not done.
I hold your hand as you find what matters to the Savior.
And let go of those things that mattered to you, but not to Him.
I write about what Him.
               Sonya Contreras

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More faith articles are found here:
under the Table of Contents. Also available in book form.
Or here:
under the Table of Contents. Also available in book form.
Articles on Suffering can be found  here, 
under Table of Contents. Also available in book form.
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Author of Biblical fiction, married to my best friend, and challenged by eight sons’ growing pains as I write about what matters.

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