Putting pain into perspective

“Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance” (James 1:2-3)
Pain

Whenever I think of pain, I am reminded of the story where a girl had a rare disease called CIPA, congenital insensitivity to pain. She couldn’t feel pain. Isn’t that what we ask for? No pain? If she mistakenly washed her hands with very hot water, she wouldn’t feel the pain; she could only see that damage done. If she got a cut wound, she won’t be able to feel it and it will be there vulnerable to infection until someone sees it. She has to stay under continuous vigilance as she wouldn’t know if she is injured which could be life threatening if not spotted. That’s the problem with the absence of pain. When her family was interviewed, her mother said, “I pray every night for my daughter, that God would give her a sense of pain.”

When we face struggle and pain in our life, our reaction is to take the path of least resistance, to run away from them, wish for them to get over. But here a mother is praying for her daughter to sense pain because she knows it’s better to sense it than not sense it.

“Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance” (James 1:2-3). Joy is counter-intuitive to pain. How can I be joyful when all I am going through is pain? But Paul says “sorrowful, yet rejoicing” (2 Corinthians 6:10). “Though the sorrow may last for the night but joy comes in the morning?” But Paul says “sorrowful, yet rejoicing.” Paul is not trying to run from the pain cause he has a different perspective which makes him want to rejoice instead. Similarly James considers trials a matter of joy, because they know that the pain we feel makes us mature and stronger in Christ than feeling no pain at all. “Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.” (Romans 5:3-4)

Rejoicing also comes with the promises that he has for us. “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him” (Romans 8:28). Even though I have a heartbreak, even though my boss fired me, even though my start up idea never got funded, even though my loved one is sick, even though I can’t reason my situation, I know that he will make it all work together for my good. And my good is the deeper knowledge of Christ and to fall deeper in love with Christ. He uses my situations and draws me closer to him. If I can believe that my pain can draw me closer to Christ, I can rejoice and I must rejoice because his promise never fails.

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