Friday, April 11, 2008

The Gift of Pain

London was crazy! Every time we go there (and there have been a lot of times in the last four years) we come away amazed at the stress it must put on its inhabitants. Never are we more grateful to arrive back in Guernsey than we are when we have been in Central London for medical treatment. But things went well, and London is where the expertise is, so that's where we go for help.

My battle now is to overcome exhaustion and other symptoms of pancreatitis but that will be so much easier without the dreadful pain, at least for the next while. While we pray for the procedure to keep working for as long as possible, what we really long for, of course, is the healing and eradication of the underlying disease. We know God can do this, and we await His touch and timing.

In a sense there is another lesson here. Extreme pain can become your whole focus, making it diffiult to pray, to write and to even think straight. Yet the pain itself is only a symptom. Sometimes it is a very important signal that all is not well within. Leprosy sufferers lose their fingers and toes because they have no nerve endings in them to warn them of the danger caused by heat or injury. Pain can be a gift - though one that I certainly don't enjoy!

If your life is marked by pain, physical, mental, emotional, or family pain, try to look beyond it and see what God is saying about underlying issues like your relationship with Him and His love for you. I have written more about this in my book Braving the Storm, and will come to it again in the follow-up Storm Force due out later this year or early next. This is not an easy process, and one which cannot be achieved alone. But let's try to look beyond our pain and address the issues that lie within.

We may be able to see pain as a gift then. Maybe!