Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Positives of Pain

“But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered for a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.” (1 Pet. 5:10)

Pain is an indicator that one is alive and responsive. When nerve damage has taken place, the first question is, “Can you feel this?” At times like this, the pain of a sharp pinprick is a welcome thing. In the same way, the onset of labor pains is the herald that “somebody” is ready to leave the security of a warm, cozy womb to brave the cold uncertainty of the outside world; and the greater the pain, the closer the manifestation of (infant) life.

Why is it that you and I seem to see all the negatives of pain but few of the positives? We somehow cannot see past the suffering, heartache, or loss — the negatives, to the perfection, stability, strengthening and settling that is ripening in our lives, according to Peter. I suspect that if we could only get our life perspectives in line with those of the Bible and the reality of Heaven, we would react with less astonishment and frustration.

For instance, when our two-year-old great granddaughter, Ava, was told that someone she knew had died and gone to live with Jesus, the part that caught her imagination was the second part. After thinking a minute, she suddenly brightened, and began clapping. “Yay!” she exclaimed. “She gets to live with Jesus!”

Has is ever occurred to you that to call the day on which Jesus was crucified “Good Friday” could be considered somewhat cynical, even bizarre? Certainly, what happened on that Friday (or whatever day it was) was anything but good. But we only call it “good” because it was the prelude to what happened three days later. The two are of a piece. The pain of Good Friday culminated in the glory of Resurrection Morning. There was no greater pain; and there was no greater glory.

The positives of pain are not as glaring and obvious as the negatives. Only someone emotionally unstable would seek pain of any kind. It hurts. But pain is real, and as I say, it’s a part of life. Its positives may be shouted down by screaming negatives, but they’re just as real. Pain is a sign of life, and from all indications in the Bible, the greater the pain, the greater the glory.

And that, friend of mine, is definitely a positive.

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