What to do with pain?


I spent the night in the hospital earlier this week. It was just precautionary, and everything checked out okay. I might not have gone in if my daughter hadn’t insisted. She’s a doctor in Hawaii, and when she heard about my symptoms, she told Marti to get me to the E.R. right away. She’s actually a Physician’s Assistant, but that’s just not a name worthy of her knowledge and experience. I hate the name. Physician’s Assistant sounds like someone who follows the doctor around with a clipboard, taking notes and getting coffee. She is operating in most cases as a doctor and often outshines them, so I have simply taken to saying she’s a doctor, and leave it at that. I was in the hospital she used to work at before she moved to Hawaii, and her name around there can still part the waters.

I actually got an ambulance ride out of the deal. They needed to get me to their sister hospital a few miles away where they had the proper equipment to run a test, so they had to transport me. I felt like I was in the movies.

Over the course of my stay that night, I never got beyond the Emergency Room, and while we were waiting for a doctor, they brought in a patient who was in such a state that someone who loved this person or must have depended on them for everything was screaming uncontrollably. It was an awful sound from someone who would not be consoled. I’ve never heard anything quite like it. It was a combination of pain and anger that made your blood curdle. Marti mentioned that we should pray for this person and that we should remember that as the sound of real pain.

I’ve thought about that sound a number of times since. This was not physical pain. It was emotional pain. Jesus endured this pain in what He bore for all of us on the cross. It was not the physical wounds that killed Him; it was the emotional ones. It was our pain He bore.

Whatever pain you may have experienced or may be experiencing right now, Jesus knows it. He knew that woman’s pain in the hospital, and He knows yours — not something like yours, but the actual pain you feel, He already bore for you on the cross and put it away forever.

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3 Responses to What to do with pain?

  1. Markus says:

    First of all, I am glad that you are okay! A stay in a hospital is never a fun thing. It is a waste of time when you are lucky, or a necessity when you are not so lucky. Both scenarios are not really desirable.

    As for pain: Personally, I believe that emotional pain is the worst pain of all as it hits where it hurts the most. Maybe that is also why I have my issues with the idea that I should take comfort in the thought that Jesus knows my pain and that he bore it on the cross. Yes, that is exactly what I believe, but to be honest, I find it difficult to find full solace in this thought, because it doesn’t make this pain any less real to *me*, or anybody else for that matter. Pain still hurts and I want it gone. I don’t want to suffer myself and I do not want others to suffer either.

    The only good thing I see in pain is that it can make us compassionate and maybe that is the ultimate reason for it to exist. I am not sure about that, but frankly, I would still not like it even if I knew for a fact that I was right with my assumption. Why can’t we be compassionate in happiness?

    Anyway, my prayers are with the patient and his/her loved one. May God show mercy on them and may he deliver them from their pain.

    • Dan says:

      Thank you for this post. This reminds me powerfully of the days back in Massachusetts when John was preparing the “Between the Answers” album and things were getting, and staying, very gritty and bloody for all of us. Padding got torn off and never got restored. Pain is just one of the things that our faith does not wrap up and tie with a bow, at all. This didn’t go over so well with the prevailing faith market at the time, that liked to attract people to the gospel because it would fix their lives and make them happy and remove doubt and danger. Well, yes and no on that one, right? We went ahead with the album anyway, and John stood firm on message against the current, and a price was paid. I remember this and read his last paragraph from that perspective. The cross is not anesthetic, at all. John and Marti of all people would agree with this.

      I think one thing about pain is that it puts us out there with everybody else. If they are going to see Christ, it will be in the full template of being human. If they are reached by grace, it will be from alongside rather than from some upper room of safety. This doesn’t help, but it gives it meaning. But I don’t want to comment on your post, I just really want to acknowledge it. You are right. Keep going. Thanks again. – Dan

  2. Marya Rud says:

    Pain is our body’s way of telling you something is wrong. It should not be ignored . It is not normal . God should not be ignored either both God and Our bodies need attention. Remember we are his temple so lets keep them in the best shape we possibley can . I too am very glad you are better. Please follow up with what ever they told you to do .

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