With Easter just this past weekend, a part of the message that really stuck with us this time was pain for a purpose. Nobody wants pain for themselves or anyone that they love. I have never encountered a single person who was looking for ways to have more pain. Actually, it is quite the opposite; most people are looking for ways to stop pain. Anywhere you look you will find advertisements for countless ways to lessen or end pain.
Jesus endured all types of pain during his life and death. He suffered physical, relational, and emotional pain to name a few. Each type of pain can hurt as badly as the other. Physical pain can be relentless and debilitating. Relationship pain, as well as emotional pain, can be heartbreaking and consuming. With many of the life experiences my family has had, we have had many opportunities to discuss pain with doctors. The most common explanation we get from medical professionals is usually the same. Pain is the body’s way of letting you know something is not right. Something needs to be helped. There are different treatments for different types of pain, but most do not actually fix the root cause of the problem.
Jesus is a different treatment or cure is actually the better word. Isaiah 53:5 says, “But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.” Jesus knew we needed a cure that we could never make on our own. When I think about pain, whether it be acute (acute is a terrible sounding word because I have yet to find anything cute about pain no matter what the length) or chronic physical, emotional, and the list goes on of things that cause us anguish and pain, I often think of it as twofold. There is the side of the actual pain itself that is terrible and sickening in so many ways and then there is the other side which is what it warns us of, teaches us, and protects us from.
Just this past summer, our son Camden was having a lot of pain. We took him to the doctor and they did imaging and found a tumor near his shoulder. The pain is the only way we found out there was a tumor in there at all. Now in a little over a week, he will have surgery to remove that tumor so that it never gets the opportunity to cause him bone cancer. If there was no pain, we would not have found that tumor, and it could have become a terrible cancer for him down the road. Thankfully, it will be removed to keep him healthy for years to come.
This is just one example. But think about pain as a check engine light in a car. You know something needs help, fixed, changed, or at the very least your attention. Think about some of the most painful things in your life. The most gut-wrenching, hurtful, hard things that you have personally been through in your life, and then think about the other side of them. Yes, these are the things we would never wish on anyone, not even an enemy, and we definitely would not want to go through again, but oftentimes they are also the things that shape you for the better and save you from what could have been much worse.
Pain warning of a serious health issue, pain from a bad relationship, pain from you fill in the blank and then think of how that pain changed you. For my family, we have had both acute and chronic pain, and while they are both intense and agonizing, they have led us to such a better way of life. I would like to think that I would have treated every breath and minute with my family as the gift it really is without experiencing anything hard or painful, but I sincerely doubt that would be true. Before those things happened, we were worried about nonsense like money, status, and too many worldly issues. Having hard and painful things have changed our lives into ones that are more meaningful and precious.
Christ knows our ways and wandering hearts and suffered and died for us anyway, and that makes my heart so full of love. Christ allowed Himself to take on our pain and suffering and then changed the world for the better forever. I hope we can all do our part to help those in pain see that there is always hope in Christ.