Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Putting Pain in its Place

Sam and Anne
I like to listen to first-time moms when they talk about the pain of childbirth. Really. There is a kind of community in this, something we all share and, as for every intense life experience, we all learn something from it. Some women bear their pain patiently, some resentfully, but like me, most of us try to forget it as soon as possible and, in the wake of the joy that usually follows, we can.

Not my friend Sam, though.

Now, Sam loves her daughter as much as any other new mother. She bubbles with the joy of her. She hasn't however, sidelined the memory of pain in getting there. Instead, Sam continues to stare her pain in the face, to call it by its nasty name, and commands it to its appropriate place in her life. Sam refuses to let her pain pretend to be anything other than what it is--hard, unpleasant, and temporary. 

Sure, she remembers that her labor hurt a lot, but also, defiantly, that it did not hurt forever. The pain never mastered her because she knew it had a purpose and when its purpose was fulfilled, it would end. In doing this, she got to keep the memory of the pain and the lasting gift it left her. Today, she can look at her daughter and say, 'You cost me a great deal, but you were worth it.'

In doing this, I think, she has discovered pain's purpose. What, after all, does pain bring? If we apply it correctly, it brings more than discomfort. Pain, if we let it, can bring sure knowledge that we can endure it and understanding that some things bring a hard cost. It can also bring vision of and hope for a future of health and wholeness.

Christ knew this, too--hence, the cross. He endured pain because He had a job to do that overshadowed it. His pain took a back seat to His purpose. He knew that the effects of His purpose would long outlast His pain. It happens the same for us. When God allows us pain, we can, if we choose it, come to know both the cost and the value of its greater purpose. By this knowledge, both the pain and the gift of it, we can join with Christ.

For the joy set before Him, He endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.--Hebrews 12:2


  1. "His pain took a back seat to his purpose." JoAnne you have the most succinct, thought provoking one liners. Gonna remember that one...

    1. One liners....maybe I should investigate the comedy tour...Just kidding. Thanks, Jody.

  2. AMEN, amen, amen. Great post!

    1. Thanks, Dionne, for taking the time to bless me with a comment. Appreciate your visit.