Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "At The Cross"1 (Lyrics)
From the time of birth, pain is a fact of life. The actions that we take and the people around us are critically important to what happens with our pain.
Soon after babies learn words like "mommy" or "no", they learn "ouch", or "it hurts", or they say, "I have an owie."
I have five older siblings. One of my first owies came one day when they allowed me to play in a game of baseball. I got a feeble hit and ran to first base. The ball arrived before I did, and I was called "out!" However, I was crying and continued running to my mommy. My siblings assumed that I was a poor loser. In fact, I had been stung by a bee just as I hit the ball. I didn't know what had happened, but I did know that it hurt — a real owie. I raced as quickly as possible, not to first base, but to my source of comfort.
In the prophecy Scriptures, it is written, "Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God." (Isaiah 40:1 KJV)
One of the residents where I live recently had a tumble — no serious consequences, but a painful experience. The next day, I saw her, still obviously in pain. When I noted that she was still suffering, she pleasantly replied, "Actually, it is much better today." All of us hearing this exchange were encouraged. Coincidentally, this lady is from India, where the famous Dr. Paul Brand spent one-third of his life ministering to lepers. He always has a positive attitude and is always trying to help others.
Dr. Brand is one of my favourite authors. With Philip Yancey, he has co-authored Fearfully and Wonderfully Made and In His Image. He has also written Pain: The Gift Nobody Wants, in which he makes the point that life without pain can really hurt us.
While writing about the importance of pain (or the lack thereof for lepers), Dr. Brand writes, "Most of us will one day face severe pain. I am convinced that the attitude we cultivate in advance may well determine how suffering will affect us when it does strike. … We can learn to cope and even to triumph." (pp. 22-23)
I am certain that you have suffered pain. In fact, you are probably now suffering pain. What you do about it will determine your state of mind and your influence on others. Here is the apostle Paul's advice on how to prepare our minds:
Philippians 4:8 – Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. (KJV)
Prayer: Dear God, help us to come to You for comfort in our time of pain. Help us to remember that a positive attitude will both strengthen us and also help others. In the name of Jesus, we pray. Amen.