the power of pain

He makes the sun rise on both good and bad people. And he sends rain for the ones who do right and for the ones who do wrong. [Matthew 5:45 CEV]

This statement has puzzled the world from the very beginning.
Adam's son Cain, a farmer, felt pain and murdered his brother Abel.
Yet he was still blessed with sun and rain for his crops.

Life is often not logical and seems to thumb its nose at the rules.
Bad things happen to good people like Abel and bad people like Cain seem to be blessed.
Bad things like cancer are no respecters of the moral character of a human being.

Rabbi Harold S. Kushner wrote a book about the subject.
He called it "When Bad Things Happen to Good People".
Here is an excerpt from it.
“Pain is the price we pay for being alive. Dead cells—our hair, our fingernails—can’t feel pain; they cannot feel anything. When we understand that, our question will change from, “Why do we have to feel pain?” to “What do we do with our pain so that it becomes meaningful and not just pointless empty suffering?”
Pain is the price we pay for being alive.
Oh my what and accurate description.
Pain is an evidence of being alive.

Dead things do not feel pain.
Only living things experience it.
The older we get the more that we understand the need to deal with our pain.

What do we do with our pain?
Will we allow pain to have power over us?
Or will we transform pain and make it our servant?

Since the death of my first wife Ellen I have tried to turn my pain inside out.
I have counseled grieving people asking them to step into their pain.
In a sense we have to acknowledge our pain to transform it.

Once acknowledged we can step into it and make it our servant.
We can cause pain to make us more loving, understanding and compassionate.
In this way our pain can become a vessel to reconciliation and healing.

My wife Ann is a great example of a person who has stepped into her pain.
In spite of her need of a wheelchair, Ann is optimistic and wonderful to be around.
She feels pain all of the time but has not allowed it to have power over her.

I guess that is the issue.
Will we be changed by pain for the better or for the worse?
What will we do with our pain?

Teach me Lord to transform my pain and make it my servant.

... this devotion is part of the Red Letters series. Click here to read more.

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