The global pain relief market is worth USD80billion. Analgesics, narcotics and other pain killers are used to treat conditions ranging from headaches to arthritis and other forms of chronic pain. Pain is uncomfortable and at times unbearable; and we’re conditioned to do whatever we can to avoid it.
In a popular Korean drama entitled ‘Doctor John’, the lead, Dr. John Cha suffers congenital insensitivity to pain, a genetic disorder that prevents him from feeling pain. While a painless existence may seem appealing, it’s, in actual fact, extremely dangerous.
Children learn to associate danger with pain. A child does not repeat an action knowing that it’ll cause pain. Yet, children with congenital insensitivity to pain will jump out of the tree, experience no pain, and repeat the action, sustaining multiple fractures. They gnaw on their fingers, lips and tongue or touch hot surfaces to the point where it can endanger their lives.
Every one of us, without exception, has experienced a level of pain, hurt, and disappointment in life. For some, it could go back to unfortunate childhood experiences. For others, it may be a more recent event. Regardless, these are wounds, small or large, that can affect us every day. They cloud our future, making it impossible to embrace God as Father and disable us from living in the present.
If we’re in a relationship with people, we’re bound to get hurt. The degree that we love and are committed to our relationships is the degree we’re vulnerable to being hurt. The question is – What do we do with our pain?
The instinctive response to getting hurt is to make an inner vow that we’ll not allow anyone to hurt us again, insulating ourselves behind walls. We may have many social relationships, people we hang out with for years who may know about our habits. But they don’t really know who we are because we withdraw when the relationships get to a depth which we’re not comfortable with.
There are people who are in tremendous pain and yet don’t feel the emotion of it because they’ve reduced their lives to accommodating it – they’ve numbed themselves.
When we numb the pain, we can’t figure out the source, so we try to fix the symptoms. But the issues in our lives just worsen. What’s worse than pain is the numbness towards it. When one loses feeling, something is alarmingly wrong.
We can be around people who show us affection and affirm us, but it becomes water rolling off a duck’s back. We end up starved for love and connection. The day we determine no one is going to hurt us again is the day we stop allowing people to come close enough to love us.
The walls that we build thinking they’ll keep us from emotional pain become walls we imprison ourselves within. We cannot live our lives insulated. In order to be loved, we have to come out from behind those walls.
Proverbs 27:6 tells us, ‘Faithful are the wounds of a friend.’ If we don’t have someone in our lives who can come close enough to wound us, then we may not really have a friend. We just have acquaintances and people we socialise with.
We all need someone in our lives who can see deep into us and point out the core issues of our lives that cause us pain. We can’t find the reason for our pain if we don’t confront. And if we don’t discover the reason, we can’t change our realities.
As I look back at seasons of my life, I realised that it’s often in the painful moments that God reveals to me issues I need to deal with or an aspect of Himself that I never knew. The Holy Spirit is always intentional to use moments of grief, disappointment, hurt and pain to bring an upgrade to different areas of our lives or to reveal a part of His nature that we’ve yet to experience.
Emotional pain will lead you to the source of your problem. While we avoid it, it may be part of the process that God wants to take us through. God can turn it into a gift and a lead to follow.
Confront pain, follow its trail that will lead you to the source of your troubles, use it to discover yourself and who God wants to be for you. Go through – instead of around – it so you can become healthy, whole and powerful.
Maybe that’s why the wise man in the book of Ecclesiastes said, “The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning.”