August 2006

The Purpose of Pain


There is no such thing as a pain-free life. Whether it is pain caused from a physical ailment or whether that pain is of an emotional origin, it still hurts and affects our lives equally. Pain alerts us to danger. It makes us tune our minds in to it so that it cannot be ignored. Pain does not come to us without reason. It is not God’s way of “getting back” at us. Pain, while often an annoyance, does have a clear and valid purpose for our lives.


While physical pain is the most concrete and measurable type of pain, I want to focus more on emotional pain, although the principles I will attempt to describe can be applied to any type of anguish we encounter.


Pain gets our attention and causes us to seek ways to alleviate it. There often may be a quick fix, but that doesn’t usually last; the pain comes back, even stronger than before. To get rid of the hurt, it is necessary to determine the underlying cause and do what we can to eradicate it from our lives. Finding and eliminating the cause is often not easy and takes a lot of time, effort and determination. This can be especially challenging during times of duress.


When we experience pain, our immediate reaction is to run from it; to pull away. If the pain persists and we cannot readily escape from it, we then look for ways to numb it or dull it in some way. This can be done in several ways: through drugs, alcohol, risky behavior, or by distracting and busying our mind with other things. However, while all these approaches may decrease our awareness of the agony, it does nothing to eliminate it or the underlying cause. When we are no longer under the influence of the anesthetizing behavior or substance, we are then faced with the pain again, now even more brutal than it was at the onset.


The only way to effectively deal with pain is to experience and move through it, not around it. It is definitely not pleasant. It is terribly uncomfortable and upsetting. To adequately deal with pain is to look it square in the eye, face it and analyze its cause. After finding the causative factor(s), it is then time to come up with an effective plan to reach to goal of comfort and healing. It requires a great deal of resolve and inner strength to be able to formulate and carry out a practical plan to achieve our goal. As we put forth the necessary effort, we strengthen ourselves. The active steps we take to eliminate pain allow us to grow, to learn and to change in ways we most likely never would have if we had not had this experience of suffering. Pain is motivation to change. Most people who have endured a painful experience are grateful for it, in retrospect. It is important to remember that the experience of pain is a transitional state and to keep our eyes focused on the cessation of pain that awaits us when we find our way to effectually move through it. We will ultimately be a better person for having endured it.


In the midst of a painful experience, it is imperative that we find hope. That hope can be the vision of a clear objective or faith-based, where we put our trust in God to see us through our peril. Without hope, we react with despair. Desperation is a dark state of being that takes us nowhere. We cannot move toward healing and wholeness when we have no hope. Hope believes that something better awaits us and faith is trust in the promise of that hope.


I pray that for anyone going through a painful time in their life, that they will be able to find hope, even in, by what all outward appearances seems to be, a “hopeless” situation. There is always hope and you must find that hope inside yourself and only then will you experience the life changing and self-improving purpose of pain.


©2006 Starr-Rhapsody Creations.  All Rights Reserved. No part of this article may be copied or reproduced without permission of the author.


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