During Thanksgiving season we are often directed to reflect on the things for which we are grateful for. If I were to hazard a guess, I would say that none of you have ever thought to include PAIN on your “I’m thankful for…” list.
Yet, God created us with the ability to feel pain. Therefore, since God creates only good things, pain must somehow be good.
What can possibly be good about the pain you are experiencing? Well, primarily, it makes you aware that something has gone amiss in your body. Sort of like the warning lights on the dashboard of your car. A steady glowing light indicates trouble is brewing. This sends the driver a message to have the problem checked out sooner rather than later. Likewise our bodies get our attention by creating pain. This pain (or even tingling or numbness) lets us know something is brewing. We usually respond by changing positions, stopping our present activity, or popping some over-the-counter medications.
Many car manufacturers go one step further in their warning system. When a system in the car is about to “blow”, the glowing light begins to flash to ensure we turn our attention to the problem immediately. Our body’s pain system responds in much the same way. When our pain becomes more intense, or frequent, or even constant, our body is saying, I’m about to blow! I need help ASAP! (This is the stage at which most patients call their doctor, begin prescriptions medications, and are referred to my office for treatment.)
People suffering from leprosy or diabetic neuropathy (nerve damage that results from long-term or uncontrolled diabetes) would be the first to tell you that pain perception is a gift. Both of these diseases rob them of their ability to feel pain. People lacking the ability to sense pain are unable to feel the pebble in their shoe or their finger being burnt on the stove. This results in damage to their body they are unable to stop because they’re unaware that it is even occurring. Pain’s “gift” lies in the fact that it protects you from harm, limits movement that may produce further harm to your body, and thankfully, causes you to seek medical attention.1
So, yes, Lord, we even give thanks for the ability to experience pain …
1 Excerpted from my book, Overcoming Back and Neck Pain.