The past two weeks have been full of pain and loss. My wife and I both lost dear family members in our respective families. Our losses are not uncommon; however, I wanted to share some perspective on the problem of pain.
Pain is a problem because we were not made to experience it — naturally. Adam and Eve had a perfect relationship with God in the Garden of Eden. God specifically told them not to eat from the Tree of Knowledge. Adam and Eve were free to eat from the Tree of Life; however, they disobeyed God and were tempted by the serpent (Satan) and the rest is history. God told Adam and Eve that the rest of humanity would suffer due to their actions. Perfect union with God was now in the past; pain and suffering would be the new norm for humanity.
Our hearts long for that restored relationship with God. We search for wholeness in many places and often strike out in finding it. Jerry Maguire’s famous quote “you complete me” is distorted theology and poor relationship advice. No one can complete us except for God. Other humans will mess up and sin; they are not perfect. I am not perfect either!
As we explore the problem with pain, I have found some common themes over the years that may aid you in your journey.
Pain is inconvenient.
Suffering and loss will happen. Our days and evenings are busy, and who has time to deal with this situation? While we might be able to trudge through the initial loss, we cannot completely ignore it. A wounded heart cannot be ignored or it will eventually wound others even if it is accidental.
Pain is not fair.
There is a common popcorn saying in Christianity: “God will never give you more than you can handle.” The problem with this saying is that it makes everything God’s fault and lets us humans, and our free will, off the hook. Pain is not fair because it does not discriminate. You can be a great Christian and still encounter pain and suffering. Our journeys should not be defined by fairness and comparison. We need holiness (wholeness) in Jesus to heal.
Pain comes in many forms.
To assume that pain looks the same for everyone is naïve. Mental, spiritual, physical, and social — these are all forms of pain that people may experience. Mental pain may be a traumatic event or struggling with mental health needs. Spiritual pain might appear to someone in the form of a loss in their ministry or struggling to see God’s will amidst the chaos of life. Physical pain could be in the form of a prolonged illness and not having any progress. Social pain may be struggling to fit in with the crowd or adapting to change.
Pain is not handled identically for everyone.
Everyone deals with their pain differently. The important point here is how the pain is handled. Is the pain handled in a healthy manner? Counseling, talking with a friend, time in nature, spending time in solitude, and being open before God — several ways to deal with the pain in wholesome manner.
My prayer is that you find healing in your pain and suffering amidst OTHERS. Working through our pain is not easy; however, anything worthwhile is never easy. God bless you!
Copyright 2019 Jason Weirich