Learning To Listen To Pain
Yet if I speak, my pain is not relieved; and if I refrain, it does not go away. Job 16:6
Dr. Paul Brand spent years with leprosy patients in India, helping them and researching their illness. There’s a cure today, but leprosy caused severe disfiguration and was stigmatized for thousands of years. Dr. Brand noted that areas of the body affected by leprosy can’t sense pain. As a result, people suffering from leprosy might accidentally burn or cut themselves, but their bodies couldn’t alert them to their wound that needed attention. For these people, lack of pain led to further damage to their bodies.
Pain is a mechanism that draws our attention to what is urgent. God has commissioned and gifted His people to bring healing wherever there is suffering. When we can make something less painful, like medical procedures, hungry stomachs, or job loss, we should do that! But that doesn’t mean that all pain is bad.
We need to be careful listeners to cries of pain, whether physical, social, emotional, or psychological. With the grace of God, we can see pain like a neon sign pointing to where God would like to work in our lives or send us like a team of medics. We can emulate parents of young children: instead of telling a crying child to stop feeling their pain, we comfort them, ask them where it hurts, and fetch a bandage, even an emotional bandage.
If you feel pain, don’t dismiss it, but seek help. Pain isn’t weakness; it is your body or heart’s cry for attention so that you can know which part needs healing.
Resource reading: Job 6:1-30