If it does not induce growth, consider an aspirin. (This is not medical advice, consult with your medical aid worker.)
Pain can be a tiring experience; it can wear you out entirely. Alf Wight aka James Herriot has seen a number of times how putting an animal to sleep only lead to its recovery! (If you haven’t read James Herriot’s Veterinary biographies, you are missing out!) Once the animal was relieved from pain, it soon found bodily healing. I can attest to the debilitating effect of pain and how alleviating it had led to my own recuperation after spinal injury and a botched surgical procedure that had led me partially crippled for two decades.
For physical pain, we have painkillers.
Emotional pain is a different beast. Not only will it rob you of your joy, energy, but it will wear you down. It can even lead to depression if it goes untreated. It also can result in physical disease.
One should never numb emotional pain with happy pills as these tend to make you neurotic, which eventually can become a bigger problem than the original one.
Through learning the hard way, I can say that the Bible has an answer here. We should be praising God for all circumstances, good or bad. In the Psalms we read that the joy of the Lord is our protection. It has a practical implication.
Go about moaning, groaning, whining because you don’t have it your way and you will just ensure that you will never be getting it anyhow. You are then most likely the architect of your own demise. We read in His Word that Life and Death are in our words; our tongue can kill or bring new life.
No sooner had the Lord established us in a lovely apartment, then the people of my city went on strike and gutted a number of trains. Burnt to ashes. For many weeks, we could not earn – and there is rent to pay. We are two months in arrears and we have no regular income. We have no car; we need that train. Damage is so severe that it will take about a year to repair, but damage to our fragile finances is even worse. So, what shall we do? Sulk? Groan? Whine? Moan? Praise the Name of Jesus!! You know why? Simply because He can see where we cannot; He knows we can only be evicted with a High Court order. We want to pay but simply cannot and, humanly speaking, we have no options. As missionaries, we are going it alone with no help from anybody. So, we do what we can, leave the rest up to Jesus.
Did I say “praise the Lord?”
In the past, I learned that emotional pain had a purpose in my life. Dr Pain is an excellent surgeon as he can cut away all gangrenous emotional garbage we drag along through life. The stuff that make our personalities stink. Two decades of intense pain had been a catalyst that had spurned growth in my life, taking me to a level of maturity and depth no pastor could deliver on a Sunday. Please do read one of my first posts called God Ain’t Doin’ No DHL.
As long as we fight pain and not partner with it, our lives will be sour and we will sour the lives of others. We simply cannot have things the way we want it; that is not how He works. He gets His way and we will grow if we let Him instruct us in another lesson or two in life. Of course, we can remain babies and keep screaming, throwing tantrums, nagging like bad children do, or we can grow through our pain to see new life blossom.
How you end up on the other side of your pain is not even God’s decision but yours. Only you can make that decision. The sooner you learn to praise Him, thank Him for walking you over a bed of coals, through a den of lions, through icy, fast-flowing rivers, the better. He wants to teach you to totally forget about your problem, about your selfish desires and learn to focus on Him alone.
He is assisted by Dr Pain.
Praise the Lord!
Here is encouragement by Louis Britz who sings “Jabulani Afrika” which is a call to praise.