There are two simple truths that I would like to focus on today.
1. You are Precious!
2. Pain Hurts!
Let’s work through these truths backwards.
2. Pain Hurts!
I looked up the definition of the word pain in Webster’s 1828 dictionary. Here are a few meanings to the word pain:
- Uneasy sensation in the body of any degree from slight uneasiness to extreme distress or torture, proceeding from pressure, tension or spasm, separation of parts by violence, or any derangement of functions.
- Uneasiness of mind; disquietude; anxiety; solicitude for the future; grief, sorrow for the past.
- The throws or distress of travail or childbirth.
- Labor; work; toil; laborious effort.
I apologize for this being wordy, but there is just something about the 1828 dictionary that I love. Yes, I’m crazy, but that is a post for a different day.
I love how Mr. Webster covers such distance in his definition of pain; from slight uneasiness to anxiety to torture. I, as a mother of two, also had to giggle out loud to find out childbirth is worthy of its own definition of pain. It does not matter where on the scale you fall, it all qualifies as pain.
So why do I try to discount the pain that I feel? Why do I try to act like it does not hurt?
Confused? Let me elaborate with a very current example. I have a toothache. A very bad one. It’s to the point where I have an appointment scheduled at 9:30am tomorrow for a root canal and a crown. This did not just sneak up on me. I have been struggling with this for a while.
About a month ago it was a dull ache so I brought it up when I went in to have my teeth cleaned on June 20th. It turns out that I had two different teeth on my upper right side that had old fillings in them which were beginning to fail. So I scheduled an appointment on July 25th (about a month out) to have them taken care of. Besides the pain was a slight uneasiness, nothing a little Tylenol couldn’t take care of.
June 28th I wake up in the middle of the night hurting so bad I cried. I take some Tylenol and cry myself to sleep. I am not feeling too badly in the morning. So I discount it. Plus it’s now the weekend, I’ll call the dentist on Monday. Turns out it’s a holiday week with the 4th of July there’s no getting in. I have not slept a whole night since the 28th. 2:30am has become a common sight on the clock for me. Praise God, I call on Monday the 8th and I get an appointment that afternoon.
The appointment goes well. For one tooth that had two fillings in it we went with a crown. The whole process was awesome. They even make crowns in the office now. Woo Hoo! I’m thinking goodbye pain, hello my sweet pillow. But there’s tooth number two. The plan was just to replace the filling. When it was taken off the root was exposed. Thank God for numbing medication I was on! So time to make an adjustment to the plan.
Here’s where my lack of knowledge in the area is going to show through, so if you are in the dental industry, I’m so sorry! A laser was used to cauterize the area to make sure there was no bacteria then the root was covered and a filling put on. I got a good 50/50 chance this would work. After a few more nights of pain, it turns out that I fall on the not so optimistic side of 50. The pain is distracting, not just at night but on and off throughout the day.
I am in pain and it just plain hurts.
The reason I am writing is not to dwell on this pain. I do not want you to think I am riding a pity pony, splashing through every pity puddle I can find. But, I do have a confession to make. Throughout it all, do you know how many people I have asked to pray for me? Four. Four people know of the trouble that I have been having. My husband, my two children and one of my friends who is an amazing prayer warrior. That is is.
I have sat silent in Bible study where we go around and list prayer & praise requests. I have spoken, written, emailed and sent text messages to people producing a variety of opportunities to ask for prayer. I have thought about asking for prayer, but opted not to share. Why?
Well, my pain is not THAT bad. It is JUST a toothache. It is ONLY temporary. I am not the only one who has ever had a toothache. There are so many other people who are dealing with so much worse than I have been facing. I do not have cancer. I am not in hospice. I am not facing a long recovery. I am not going through endless tests trying to figure out what is wrong. This is a physical pain, it is not an emotional pain. My husband has not abandoned our family. I have not lost someone close to me.
Now that I have down played my pain, I top it off with a huge dose of guilt. Guilt that I should not even be talking about my pain. It was not right for me to cry those tears. My pain is not worthy of that. Guilt that I am not as grateful as I should be. I should be so thankful that I got one of the teeth fixed. It has not even been a full month. That is a huge yeah God!
But, I still hurt.
That is ok. Pain hurts. It does. Yet I try to deny it and cover it up. Grin and bear it. Walk it off. Distract yourself. It still hurts.
Now, I am not saying that we should all just dwell on our pain and allow it to consume all of our time. I do not want to focus on poor me and have everyone else focus on my pain too. But right now I am struggling to even tell those closest to me. I am hurting. I am writing about it because I feel like I am not alone in this and to admit that I am in pain.
My dear reader, pain hurts. It hurts. I feel it. You feel it. Ouch!
Pain in all its nastiness can make us feel like we are worth less, as if our value has decreased because we hurt. It is as if imperfect health decreases our significance.
Which brings me to the first truth on my list.
1. You are Precious!
You are a precious treasure! You are a priceless masterpiece! You are a creation made by the hand of a perfect God!
How you feel does not change that. Experiencing pain and hurt does not remove your eligibility to be precious.
God knows. He knows that I am in pain. God knows when you are in pain my dear.
God is the greatest encourager there can be. Look at what it says in Psalm 10:17 (NIV), “You hear, O Lord, the desire of the afflicted; You encourage them, and You listen to their cry.”
God hears you. God wants to listen to you. He longs to have you speak to Him about your desires. He wants to be there with you through every tear.
Perhaps you are wondering, if God will do that, why won’t He just speak the words and heal all who come to Him? To this question, I have only one answer. I DO NOT KNOW. I do not have clue. I do not think I ever will have a clue because God’s ways are not my ways.
But what I do know is this:
YOU ARE PRECIOUS!
Even if we do not feel like it in the midst of our pain, our hurt and our tears, our feelings can not change the truth.
“The Lord your God is with you, He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.” Zephaniah 3:17
God is with you. God takes great delight in you. God rejoices over you. God LOVES You!
Beloved and Amazing Lord,
I come to You and ask You to help me through the pain. Help me not to avoid it or try to lessen it. Help me instead to be honest about it and to bring it to You. I lift up to You today all of those out there that are trying to hide or discount their own pain and the feelings that it creates.
Lord, may we cry out to You. May we feel Your presence in an overwhelming way so that we know without at doubt that You are listening to us. May we be encouraged just by being able to come to You. May we trust You to see us through whatever the answer to the pain is.
Lord, may we have bold confidence in our hearts that we are precious. Our value and worth is determined by You. Remind us that it is not determined by our health or our pain. Your love is a steady and unending blessing, a treasure beyond value. Thank You, Lord. Thank You.