Thursday, January 12, 2012

Responding to Pain

     As I sit here typing away on my laptop, I have a moist heating pad on my back and a warm wrap around my neck,  Pain is not fun as anyone will tell you.  However, it does serve to get our attention.  Growing older coupled with the fact that I had polio has conspired against me to cause a very uncomfortable neck and upper back pain.  After struggling with it for a while now, I decided to get it checked out.  Part of the pain is due to my own foolish work habits of going full blast into any cleaning project I start.  When I finish, I am exhausted.  I know better than to do that, but I choose to ignore, to my discomfort, the advice given to me years ago by my doctor to pace myself when I do work.  Of course, the second reason for the pain is due to the damage of polio years ago.  In my mind, I think I am twenty something.  Physically, I am not, and have not accepted that fact.  It is okay to think young, but it is not okay to be foolish in behavior.  
     While reflecting on my current situation, I thought about a comment C.S. Lewis made in his book "The Problem with Pain."  He writes:  "God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains; it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world."  How well I can identify with this statement.  When things are going well, we may hear that whisper of the Lord reminding us to follow Him, but we put it to one side since we are in "control".  Then, we hear Him speak to our conscience.  We know what He is saying, but again, we may choose not to listen.  Finally, when we fall into the moral or physical pain which comes as a consequence of our lifestyle, we suddenly can hear God speaking loudly over the megaphone of His Word.  He has roused us.  Unfortunately, some people only run to God when they are in pain.  He is like a life preserver for them to be used only when they are drowning.  Otherwise, these same souls rarely think of God if things are going well for them.
     God calls us to respond to Him when He speaks the first time in a still small voice.   He doesn't want us to wait until the pain of disobedience comes knocking on our door.  Further,  His Holy Spirit is given not only as a seal and promise of our salvation, but also as a guide, teacher, comforter to direct our steps.  We can live our lives in victory each day or choose to run our own show until the pain of life drives us to Him again.  Hebrews 3:15 says it well:  "As has just been said, 'Today if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion.'"  We need to hear and respond to His call the first time if we really want to avoid pain.
     Pain is a useful tool in the hand of God.  It certainly gets our attention, and often causes us to run to His arms.  However, we also have to learn from the pain we have as well.  If we brought it on by our own reckless behavior, then we need to humbly seek God's wisdom and forgiveness so the lesson will be learned and not repeated.  Years ago, we told our children that if they did a good job cleaning the first time, they would not have to repeat the chore.  After several times of repeating the chore, they eventually got the message and did it correctly the first time.  We are no different.  We need to learn from our pain so we are not doomed to repeat it.  
     In the future, I know I have to learn to pace myself when doing work.  It doesn't all have to be done at once.  If I choose to ignore God's direction in caring for my body, then, I will certainly enjoy more pain.  We can either change when He whispers, respond when He speaks to our conscience, or suffer when He shouts through our pain.  The choice is ours.   Jesus Christ came to set us free from sin and death.  Therefore, let us live each day by listening to His voice as He guides us that we may not come again into pain and suffering of sin.  Selah!

I welcome your thoughts here.  We all experience pain.  How has God used it in your life?


Christina said...

Beautiful post. While I don't like the thought of you in pain or in any kind of suffering, God's grace is clearly on display as you trust and seek Him. And, you have said it well: "Pain is a useful tool in the hand of God." Providentially, we had Prayer last night and this was the topic -- suffering. May we learn, by God's grace, to glory in our sufferings. (Eph. 5:305). Sending my love and prayers your way...

Barbara Thayer said...

Thank you dear sister! I appreciate your prayers and thoughts. As we grow older, there are times when physically things do not always seem to be in our favor, but God is always there teaching us something new. Blessings to you!!!