With the kidney stones, the gall bladder attacks, and then the surgery, I’ve been prescribed powerful painkillers.
I’ve been told to use them aggressively.
The doctors say the worst thing you can do is end up “chasing pain”.
If you wait till something hurts really bad before taking the painkillers, you will never catch up to the pain level you’re experiencing.
You will always be chasing pain.
You have to use the medications when the pain starts, then keep medicating until the episode is over.
We do the same thing with emotional pain these days…if you’re stressed, depressed, or out of sorts, there’s a pill for that.
If you don’t want a pill, there’s a drink or six (and in my neck of the woods), a pot store on every corner.
We will do whatever it takes to not feel pain.
We will not chase pain, we will crush it from the get go and do everything we can to keep it at bay.
The problem with this is that you often end up not feeling much of anything.
St. Irenaeus wrote; “The glory of God is man fully alive.”
To be fully alive means that we not only fully experience the joys of life, but it’s pain and sadness.
Pain tells us that something is wrong in body or circumstance.
It reminds us that the entire creation is groaning, but that a Redeemer has come is and is coming.
Pain involves suffering and suffering is an avenue through which we both experience and model the life of Christ.
Pain can dig deep wells of empathy and humility and love for others who suffer as well.
Pain says you’re still alive and still in need of your Savior.
My last few years have been filled with physical pain and at times, emotional despair.
I have asked many times for relief from the Lord.
He has answered my prayers with His presence and more suffering.
I know Him much better than I knew Him before.
There are times when it is wise to moderate pain….but there are also times when it is the glory of God to embrace it.
We were created to be fully alive…and share in His suffering.