MERIDIAN — “Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.” — Hebrews 12:11
Of all the emotions I experience, pain is the one I remember the most! I know I had many happy moments when I was eight years old. However, fifty-four years later, I don’t remember what caused my happiness.
I do remember pain. I had an infected foot from stepping on a nail and the doctor lanced it. He had four people hold me down as he opened the wound and drained it. I remember that like it was yesterday.
Pain has a way of requiring our attention and implanting lasting influences that other emotions miss. Sometimes, we need to be so impressed that we don’t forget. For that purpose, pain is efficient.
Pain is an unpleasant feeling associated with something that is damaging or threatening. Pain lets us know we are in danger. Either we feel damage being inflicted such as touching something hot, or, we feel the threat of something ominous such as the piercing sound of a siren that hurts our ears but warns of a coming storm. Pain makes us focus. Pain makes us pay attention. Pain makes us evaluate. Pain demands a response. To sense pain is to recognize something harmful is near.
Pain can warn. A pain can encourage us to identify physical ailments that would go unnoticed if there was no pain. Pain identifies limits. When you feel the pain in your leg, you know there is a sharp corner on furniture.
Pain motivates us to do something. When something becomes hot, we stop touching it. When punishment hurts enough, we adjust our attitude or conduct. During childhood, a belt laying on the TV was the greatest motivator I knew toward obedience and cooperation. If the traffic fine is enough, we learn to drive better. An electric fence can motivate many pets to stay in the yard. The same is true for us. It is the painful things of life that have helped us become better people.
Pain stops when the solution is found. The best part of pain is when it is gone. No pain can mean the illness has been healed. No pain can mean we have distanced ourselves from dangerous things. No pain can mean we are doing the right things. No pain can mean we have learned something important and corrected our way.
The reason God allows pain in our lives is to teach us how to live better lives. The painful experiences we face are meant to mold us into the image of Christ, who endured great pain for us on the cross. When we seek God amid our pain, several blessings may occur:
1. We may listen to God better when experiencing pain. If something is hurting you, why not ask God to teach you what He wants you to learn.
2. We may find God wants to show his power through our weakness. Why not ask God to glorify himself through you?
3. We may find God is warning about something coming if we keep going the way we are going. God may want us to avoid something even more painful and is trying to get our attention.
I have enjoyed many happy events in my life. However, the major moments of growth in my life have been in times of pain, not leisure. I do not wish for pain, but I do wish to keep learning how to be a better person. Thank you, Lord, for loving me enough to discipline me when I need it!
Dr. John A. Temple is pastor of Poplar Springs Drive Baptist Church, located at 4032 Poplar Springs Drive in Meridian. Visit the church website online at www. psdbc.org.