No (earthly) Pain, No (eternal) Gain by Colleen Martin


Editor’s Note:  Today we welcome Colleen Martin to our family of contributors.  Colleen and her family reside in Massachusetts and she will join us monthly to share her thoughts on faith and family topics.  Visit Colleen at her blog at Martin Family Moments.  Lisa

I brought Maggie to the doctor this past weekend to get her H1N1 flu shot. I was talking to her and pointing out the pictures on the wall, trying to keep her happy and distracted while the nurse administered the shot.

Her eyes filled with tears as she looked at me confused and said “Ouchie! Ouchie!”. I fought back my own tears, and was so sad that I had to put her through this pain, even though I knew it was to keep her safe and healthy.

I comforted her with hugs and kisses, and she quickly calmed down and trusted me enough to put her tights back on. She told me “Leg hurt…kiss it”, so I did, and she said “All Better!” Then we went out and got some stickers (she had to have three).

Maggie is my fourth child, and I have gone through this MANY times before, but this time (after talking about it to Phil) I was able to realize a more spiritual connection.

We don’t want our children to be hurt or sad, but, as in the case of vaccinations, we still allow it to happen for their own good. Our kids don’t understand this pain they feel or why their parents who say they love them would help to cause it.

It’s the same way with God.

He doesn’t want us, His children, to be upset or have to suffer, but He allows it to happen for our eternal happiness. We look to Him and ask “Why God? Why me? Why now?” and He hears us and wants us to know that this pain is for the greater good in some way.

Sometimes in the midst of horrible tragedies, we can see the good come out of it. Take 9/11 for example. How many people lost family members but gained faith? How many of us who were lucky enough not to be affected directly now understood how priceless the people around us are? How many couples who were arguing over who needed to take out the trash suddenly realized the important things in life? How many people heroically lost their lives to save others? What about the firemen and EMT’s and priests who ran in the midst of danger to save as many lives and souls as they could? How much more did we turn to God during our times of need? How much safer do we feel as a country now that we have much stronger anti-terrorism controls in place?

Just like our children, we may not understand why God would allow us to suffer in certain times or situations. We do not know why He allows some to suffer illness, or loss, or pain or suffering. If our faith tells us that God is a loving father however, we can know that even in the pain and suffering, He is right there with us and He allows it for a greater good.

It does no good to explain to a small child the reasons we allow them to suffer. They could not understand what a vaccination means and how it will keep them safe later. What a child wants is to be held, hugged, comforted, and told that they are loved, even when they are hurting.
And we still need that as adults. So we comfort and support each other through the hard times. We apply the emotional and physical band-aids that God can’t reach. And hopefully, one day in Heaven, we will see with clarity why we were meant to suffer on Earth.
And then we can have as many stickers as we want!

Copyright 2010 Colleen Martin


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  1. Hello Colleen: Welcome and blessings from AZ. And thanks for your fine kickoff article. Glad to have you on board and to read about and see your wonderful family. I’ve just returned from two Franciscan oriented events: First – I attended my sixth priest/deacon conference and retreat on FUS campus — it was awesome. And then, only home a week, was asked to come to Denver and help with the Steubenville of the Rockies. I’m still riding high on Amazing Grace 🙂

    On our Catholic Vitamins Podcast a couple episodes back, we did a ‘novena’ of nine voices from Franciscan… including Fr. Francis Martin, Fr. Dave Pivonka, a young woman just graduated from the nursing program, etc. Maybe we can have you (& husband?) on a show some time??


    deacon tom

    ps: I also try to wordsmith on Catholic Mom site !

  2. Colleen! Great insights here, and please consider talking to Fr. Landry about giving your wisdome the widest possible audience in the Anchor as well! Can it already be a year since we took that lovely photo?! 🙂

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