By Tommy Rush
Several weeks ago, my 80 year old mother, had major back surgery and currently she’s battling through the process of recovery. It’s been hard for her to struggle through the pain and hard for me to feel so helpless in providing her with relief. I’m sure we’ve all had times of feeling inadequate when someone we love is hurting and about the best we can do is provide a shoulder for them to cry on. My mother is definitely getting better, but the recovery has not been easy and it seems like most of our conversations lately have been on the subject of pain.
Today there are a lot of conversations on the subject of pain. We hear a lot about pain management, pain medicine, pain clinics, and pain doctors. We often use phrases like, “don’t mask your pain,” “listen to your pain”or “no pain, no gain.” I think most of us would agree that pain comes in a variety of forms. If you have a body, you know there’s physical pain. If you have family or people in your life that you love, you know there are times of relational pain and emotional pain. If you have had to bury a husband or wife or even a child, you can no doubt testify that the pain of grief is an overwhelming and profound pain that no words can describe.
All pain hurts! But there is a major difference between the pain of injury and the pain of healing. Lately I’ve encouraged my mother by reminding her that her pain is a healing pain. She has stated several times that had she known how much her pain of recovery was going to be that she probably would have never had the surgery. I try to remind her that her pain before surgery and the pain she is experiencing as she recovers both hurt but they are very different. One is a pain of injury and the other is the pain of healing. The pain of injury, if we do nothing about it just keeps hurting, no end in sight. This is true if it’s a part of you body that’s hurting or a part of your heart. Sadly a lot of people carry needless pain because they won’t do what it takes to heal the injury. For some seeking help with pain is simply not something they can bring themselves to do. Sometimes couples with a breaking or broken marriage just keep enduring the pain and the problems rather than seeking help that could bring healing.
But the pain of healing is good pain! Just ask someone who is going to physical therapy two or three times a week. Of course there’s pain but they endure it because they know there’s hope of healing. Ask the person who has suffered with an addiction or an emotional pain in their past, but their hope is growing because of their commitment to recovery and freedom. We all know there is pain in the healing process, but healing pain always leads to hope, joy and a better day.
I pray you’re not struggling in pain today, but if so, please know there is a God who understands what you’re going through. Isaiah 53:3 tells us that that the Lord was “a man of suffering, familiar with pain.” Psalm 34:18 says, “the Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” It has always been amazing to me how God seems to provide what we need when we need it most and always at just the right time.