Pain Has a Purpose
“For you are great and do marvelous deeds; you alone are God.” Psalm 86:10 (NIV)
My oldest and I were having a conversation about people who don’t feel physical pain and how on one hand it would be great but in reality, it’s quite dangerous. We were in agreement that we’re given the sensation of pain for a purpose… and that got me thinking.
To say I’ve been overwhelmed lately is an understatement. I’ve felt pressure to get in my hours for one job while meeting deadlines for my other. I’m currently publishing a book while reaching out to people for four other book projects. Then, my real job: wife to an amazing man and mother to three terrific kids of whom I want to share in the details of their lives which includes concessions, parties, doctors’ appointments, serving at church. I’m sure you juggle your own hectic schedule. I could probably handle the above fairly well except for the fact I added some heavy emotional heartaches additionally to my already overwhelmed physical body. I think emotional trials are worse at times than physically draining ones.
While I know the answer is to turn to God and just trust that He has this, my exhausted body is crying out for more sleep and less “commitment,” less “pain.” I know I’m where God wants me to be and that this is just a busy season… I know that it will slow down to a reasonable pace, I’m just in a period of busy and while it’s crazy at times, I will someday miss it. I know I will. I did repeatedly stop working when the feelings of overwhelmed felt like they would crush me and go spend time in prayer, multiple times in the past few days, giving my worries and fears to Him as well as my schedule, and I saw results. He took some things off my plate by whispering in my ear someone who could do a better job which freed me up for other assignments. He relieved the guilt when I had to turn some activities down for lack of time, and He restored my hope that He has this… down to the last detail.
But the above statement that we’re given the sensation of pain for a purpose hit home not twenty minutes after the words were spoken. I received an email asking for prayer. When I read the email, I was filled with a sense of, “This is why God allows pain…” One of the first things mentioned in the email was the feeling of being overwhelmed and at the end of self. I thought, “Boy can I relate to feeling overwhelmed… and I also know Who has the answer to that.” When I dropped to my knees to pray, I was able to pray from the standpoint of being there, not as an outsider who could only guess to the feelings behind the words “overwhelmed.” While our situations are different, the feelings are the same. When I cried out to God on that person’s behalf, I used the same language and same heartfelt prayer I had uttered to Him for myself not a few hours earlier.
Pain isn’t fun… no matter when we experience it. And while I truly believe it was never in God’s perfect plan for us to experience, ever, it entered when sin happened. God, who never changes, did what He always does when the evil one creates something to hurt humans. God, in His love, took the pain and used it to spur His children on to pray empathetically for others, having experienced the same feelings themselves.
I love serving a God who takes the sin of the world and finds a way to give it purpose. While I still don’t like pain or feeling overwhelmed, the next time those feelings come crashing down on me, I will try to remember that while unpleasant, they help me better pray for others who are themselves experiencing the same emotions. While that won’t take the pain away, maybe it will at least change my perspective and remind me once again that God has this.
© Cheri Swalwell 2015