Could there possibly be a purpose for our pain? A reason for all the suffering? A rationale or goal for our affliction?
The very thought seems insulting, but it may be true.
As someone who has suffered chronic pain for over 30 years, and after two major back surgeries, I certainly have experienced my share of physical suffering. Being afflicted with four different, debilitating spinal conditions has wrought many tearful nights, filled with a special kind of emotional torment only chronic pain sufferers can relate to.
It can drive you quite mad, can it not?
“One thing you can’t hide is when you’re crippled inside.” ― John Lennon
Anger, depression and despondency are natural byproducts of chronic pain, in my opinion. How can the imprisonment of pain not affect us? Our vibrant, youthful self is hunted down, thrown into a dank, stony dungeon and told to remain there until help arrives.
Or until death, whichever comes first.
There is a window where you can see out of this prison, but instead of serving as a member of humanity, you’ve become a mere spectator.
“Oh, sorry, daddy can’t ride that roller coaster with you. But he’ll watch you, ok?”
“Daddy can’t pick you up. Let him sit down and then you can sit on his lap.”
“Don’t hang onto Poppy, ok? He has back problems.”
It’s beyond frustrating, man. For real. As Dolly Parton sang in the theme song to the movie “9 to 5,” it’s enough to drive you crazy if you let it.
One thing I’ve learned to do, however, is try and harness all my pain and frustration into an activity which helps others. I started a Facebook group for Christians who suffer from chronic physical and/or emotional pain, “Broken People – Mended Spirits.” We have over 600 members, and our goals are to not only encourage each other, but share prayer requests and praise reports. I want other victims of angst, affliction, anguish and agony to know they’re not alone.
Yeah, it’s easy to say, “God cares,” or “I’ll pray about it,” but it’s quite another to say, “Hey, I’ve been there. I know EXACTLY what you’re feeling. I’m sorry for your pain, but you’re not alone!”
That’s where the “rubber meets the road,” so to speak.
God is even helping me channel some of my fury into righteous anger. I get mad at the devil and what he’s doing to my friends and family, and it makes me want to fight him even harder with prayer, love and laughter.
After all, those are the best weapons against darkness, my friend.
I’m also writing this blog, which is not only a great emotional and creative release, but seems to be helping a handful of others.
“But I’m not a writer,” you say.
That’s cool, you don’t have to be. Figure out what your gift is. Do you crotchet? Spend some of your time and resources making gifts for others. Do you have a good smile? Awesome, volunteer at a homeless shelter and just try and encourage the people who come through there. It’s possible yours is the only smile they’ve seen all day.
My son-in-law is an ex-addict and current sufferer of anxiety, who is learning to harness what some would call a “disability” into a weapon for fighting the darkness, and helping other wounded people. He started a Facebook group, “If You’re Going Through Hell…” He admits he’s not a writer either, but wanted to try and hold the hands of his family and friends as we suffer trials. He posts prayer requests and Bible verses on his page, and is doing a wonderful job reaching those I can not.
My Uncle Aaron has suffered more physical and emotional pain than I ever have, but doesn’t sit around and cry about it. He is in the church worship band and has a ministry to the homeless and downtrodden of his neighborhood.
With that in mind, please read the following, regarding God’s possible “purpose” for all this torment assigned to us:
“He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. (2 Corinthians 1:4)”
Perhaps God didn’t send the pain, but He has a purpose for it. He wants you to use your tales of vexation and victory to urge others on to triumph!
So many are hurting today, my friend. People are hanging themselves in closets, jumping off bridges and putting gun barrels in their mouth to end the pain. What if the entire reason you’re going through such valleys of darkness is so you can help save someone’s life?
WOW, what a thought!
Speaking to the devil, I oft-times quote this Scripture:
“Even though you intended to harm me, God intended it only for good, and through me, He preserved the lives of countless people, as He is still doing today. (Genesis 50:20)”
I’m so very sorry for everything you’ve suffered. If I could take it all away with a simple prayer, I would. If I harbored a secret weapon which could erase the tragedy and agony of your past, I would share it with you.
But I don’t possess such, I’m afraid. All I can do is illiterate brutal honesty about my tribulations, and tell you that you are NOT alone in your suffering.
I would encourage you to do the same for others.
“We are confident that God is able to orchestrate everything to work toward something good and beautiful when we love Him and accept His invitation to live according to His plan. (Romans 8:28)”
May God richly bless you, friend.