There is a rare physical malady called Congenital Analgesia. It is the condition where a person feels no physical pain. They can burn themselves and not feel it, break bones and continue on without knowing it, experience profuse bleeding without awareness of it. On the surface, we might say, “I wish I had that,” since we view pain as an altogether, universally bad thing. However, people who suffer from CA find themselves in constant danger. People who suffer from it tend to get infections more, suffer complicated injuries more seriously and neglect care that is not recognized as needed - sometimes leading to avoidable death. For them, experiencing pain would be a blessing.
In similar ways, though we may not have CA, if we did not have pain, we might suffer serious harm. Without pain, we cannot measure progress, appreciate success, learn to avoid self-inflicted trouble and see signs that are necessary for us to make healthy choices. Of course, that’s not to say that all pain is good. Some of it hurts without our ability to see much good other than a deep commitment to seek God for comfort. Fortunately, God will do away with pain when we are in heaven. There will be no need for the good or bad kind of pain and we will not weep or toil any more. While we live in the flesh, our best response to pain is not avoidance, but turning to God, recognizing our need to pray and seek him, seeking to learn the message of the crosses we bear and rejoicing in the opportunity to experience difficulty as part of our journey. We should also seek to know how our pain will help others who experience similar problems. So, don’t let any of it go to waste.
What have been your most painful experiences?
Has anything good come from it or learned by it?
How has God helped you with your difficulties?
When the pain has subsided, how has it affected you?