April 14, 2019
Pain. We’ve all experienced it. From the bodily pain of arthritis that makes simple chores difficult to the emotional pain of rejection that causes us to pause before we send a text. Pain pervades our lives.
Let’s pause for a moment and consider how pain works.
On the one hand, pain can distract us. Jeff is at his son’s basketball game. They’ve been working on his son’s dribbling. Jeff promised his son that he would watch and give him some tips after the game. But it’s hard to concentrate. Jeff has been having issues with his lower back. Right now, it feels like somebody is taking an ice pick and digging it into his side. He can’t get comfortable on the bleachers, and he certainly can’t pay attention to his son’s game. Pain has a way of distracting us from the task at hand.
On the other hand, pain can focus our attention. She never would have known about the support group if the pain hadn’t become too hard to bear. Manie passed away suddenly. One minute he was in the kitchen getting burgers ready for the grill and the next minute he was lying on the deck as they called 911 and tried CPR. “He didn’t have a chance,” the doctor said. A massive brain aneurysm. She had driven by the church for months and seen the sign for a grief support group that meets on Thursdays. She had never paid attention before. After Manie’s death, however, she saw it. And she went. Her friends wouldn’t believe it. Her? In a church? She couldn’t believe it herself. But she was desperate, and she knew she couldn’t go on. That’s how bad it was. But that’s also what pain does. It causes us to focus. To see things we have never seen before and to find help when help is needed.
So, pain can do two things. It can distract us or it can focus our attention. The question for us today is: What happens with spiritual pain? Does it distract you from the task at hand or does it focus your attention on something good?