I am a positive person. I always look for the bright side of every situation. I try to find the silver lining within every cloud. I teach others to look for the good, the pure and the positive in every situation. While all this is well and fine, it is also important to accept the fact that personal pain and discomfort is a reality of life. It may be physical pain, mental pain, emotional pain, or financial pain. We simply cannot avoid the experience of pain as much as we may wish we could.
No doubt you have heard the expression, “No pain; no gain!” That is a succinct way of summing up the purpose of pain and why it is your friend. Pain was designed to be a helper and not a hindrance in our lives.
In the physical realm, we know that pain can be a great instructor. Deep pain in your lower abdomen may be a sign that you have appendicitis. Chest pains may indicate that a heart attack is coming on. Touching a hot stove will immediately send pain into your fingers which warns you to remove your hand so that no further damage is done. Pain is always meant to be a helper and not a hindrance. It is a misunderstanding of pain that causes us…pain. When we try to avoid it, run from it, or treat it as an enemy, we are short-circuiting the process that has been put into place to help us.
I am sure that I have used this illustration before, but it bears repeating. If you were driving down the road and the red oil light came on in your dashboard, it would be your car’s way of telling you it was in pain. If you pulled into a service station and asked a mechanic to disconnect the warning light, you would have missed the whole purpose of the red light. It was not meant to be an enemy; it was meant to be a friend. The oil light is a “pain light” letting you know that the engine is in pain and needs some oil. The same is true of us. When we experience pain in any area of our life, it is a warning sign that we need to make an adjustment.
It has been noted that relationships are our greatest source of joy in this life. They are also our greatest source of pain. There is not a married couple or a family with children or loved ones who have not experienced both extremes. There have been times that we have been deeply moved and touched with love and gratitude for those close to us. There have also been difficult times that made us wish we had never met that same person. That is unfortunate, but that is a part of life and we are all on a journey. We are all learning and growing on a day-by-day basis.
The good news is that life is a faithful, patient teacher trying to tell us that everything that happens to us, including all of our pain, has been designed to help us learn what we need to know on this journey called life. If we fight that process, it will surely keep us going around in circles and will keep us from our desired destiny. Let me share a personal story to illustrate my point.
I was single for many years. During that time, I would sometimes come home to my apartment at night and it would seem cold and dark. My sofa had three sections and it seemed to me that sorrow, sadness and loneliness were sitting on those three sections of the sofa every evening. They scared me to death! I thought they had come into my life to destroy me. I would often stay out late at night and come home exhausted so that I did not have to look at sorrow, sadness and loneliness sitting there on my sofa. Finally, one night, I gave up. I knew I could not fight them any longer, so I decided to have a long talk with them.
In my heart, I spoke to them and said, “Okay, I give up. I guess you are just going to kill me…so have at it!” Although I did not hear an audible voice, I did hear them say to my heart, “We are not here to kill you; we are here to help you. We are not your enemies; we are your friends!” That was a turning point in my life. That is when I began to realize that although I enjoy happiness, joy, fun and excitement, I must also accept the fact that sorrow, sadness, and loneliness are three dear friends as well. Their presence does things in my heart and life that happiness, joy and excitement are simply not able to do. It is a deep mystery to understand that the wonderful experiences of life are a blessing, but that pain is a blessing as well. I have learned not to run from pain, but to embrace it and allow it to do its necessary work in my heart and life. The more I have done this, the more I have grown.
Someone once noted that too much outward pain will produce bitterness, while too much inward pain will produce self-pity. Both are out of balance. It is just a fact that a certain amount of pain is extremely good…not too much…not too little…just right.
My dear friend, Bob Rhinehart, once had a serious heart attack. Unfortunately, it happened at the beach and not only did he almost die from the heart attack, but he fell into some water and almost drowned as well! Later, he said that he was thinking about his circumstances and asked God, “Why do you use pain so much?” He said he heard the answer in his heart which said, “Because it works!” The truth of the matter is pain does work. It was designed to get the job done. And, it was designed to be our friend.
I trust this week that if you are going through pain, you will not fight it but that you will receive it, embrace it, allow it to do its work in your heart and make you a better person. The profit you gain from it will be worth the pain you experience. Trust me on this one! If it is too hard of a pill to swallow, just get a bigger glass of water! You will be glad you received it. It will make you emotionally healthy and strong in due time! I promise!
Tip: Pain is your friend!
Have a great week! God bless you!
Dr. Robert A. Rohm