The Things we do for Pain

We get drunk to numb the pain.  We get high to forget the pain.  But when we sober up the pain is there waiting for us.  We eat compusively to cover up the pain.  We throw up and eat more because when we stop the pain is still there.  We push the pain away.  We deny it.  We belittle it and fool ourselves away from feeling it.  We feel nothing.  We are empty.  We are numb.  We slice and cut our flesh to focus the pain.  We pick, bruise, and bite ourselves.  We pull out our hair.  We spend money.  We shop.  We gamble.  We go into debt to push away the pain.  We hide from love to protect our hearts from suffering more pain.  We accept less, we expect less, we settle for less to assuage the pain.  We look for love, we long for acceptance, we seek after glory because we fear the pain.  We fear that if we for one moment give our hearts a voice we will be lost in it.  We will be overtaken in the waves and we will lose our very soul. 

We have forgotten our Savior.  We have forgotten that He has promised to hold us up and guide us through.  We must believe that we can feel and not get lost.  That He is faithful to love and faithful to strengthen and that in the end He will wipe away every tear from our eyes.    

9 thoughts on “The Things we do for Pain

  1. What is the cause of the Pain? Love is painful, peace comes at a cost and joy is a balm to the spirit. What is the root of human sorrow? Is it an empty soul, an empty life? Is it that man kind feels small and lost in the world? True, we have forgotton our creator and feed too much our own flesh but is that why we flinch and cower and run for cover from anything that challanges and confronts? What is the cause of Pain?


  2. We have sex to forget the pain. We live in delusional relationships because the emptiness is more frightening than the pain.

    Avoiding pain, the inability to effectively live THROUGH pain, fuels some of the most destructive behaviors and beliefs.

    Pain, like happiness, is a byproduct. Pain, like happiness, is a gift. Pain and happiness are not destinations, happiness isn’t a place that we can move to, and pain is not a place we are sequestered to… particularly emotional pain.

    Attempts to deny or avoid pain simply prolong it, but all pain generally can be managed; one cannot manage something that one refuses to acknowledge.

    We cannot effectively stop pain, but we can choose our response. And truly, for ALL pain, the best response is Jesus… because Jesus treats pain holistically. Jesus doesn’t anesthetize the pain at expense to our liver, as many of our pain management schemes. Jesus does not see pain as THE problem, pain is simply the indicator that reminds us to engage the Creator… like a cosmic “check engine” light.

    Alsoholism was called a disease by folks in recovery many tears before the medical community embraced the fact. But interestingly, the initial recovery folks RIGHTLY called it a SPIRITUAL disease… a fact that many folks STILL miss. The pain of addiction is essentially a spiritual pain.



  3. Interestingly, some of my typos in the above post actually make it slightly MORE accurate. Per my keyboard, “tears” = “years”… and “Alsoholism” = “Alcoholism”… might need a breathalizer before I get behind the keyboard.



  4. Dratgosy thank you for reading and commenting here. I am not a philosopher and certainly don’t have all the answers but I can offer you my opinion. Pain is caused by the fact that we were not designed to live in a fallen world. God created us to share in an intimate relationship with Him in paradise. Instead we are wounded and assaulted from birth. We live under attack in a spiritual war zone and every atom in our cells and every subconscious thought cries out that things are not right. This is not the way life was supposed to be.

    Vern, I’m slapping my head… sex is a huge one I left off the list. I appreciate the insights you shared here. I need to think more about the idea that pain is a gift. I suppose in some ways I agree, but it’s one gift I’d like to return.


  5. Most of the most valuable gifts from God in my life have been unwelcome initially.

    Pain is like the wrapper that some of the best gifts from God come in. We are shaped by God into who we are by the process, and the process is painful.

    To be blessed by a life with no pain is to live in blessed ignorance, with no depth of gratitude. Those who have lived through the valley of desolation, and have learned to surrender to Jesus, and who are being healed and restored, these people know how to live in a blessed moment, because they know so well what other alternatives look like.

    Manning said that Jesus, when we finally embrace, is not so interested in our accolades and acheivements, He wants to see the scars we took in His name.

    I think God redeems pain, that He takes what we least like to talk about, and like the ultimate junkyard warrior, build something intricate and beautiful from what was mean to kill.



  6. Leprosy is a disease characterized by a loss of feeling that results in injury so sever that digits and limbs are lost.

    “Contrary to popular belief, Hansen’s bacillus [leprosy] does not cause rotting of the flesh; rather, a long investigation by Paul Brand yielded that insensitivity in the limbs extremities was the reason why unfelt wounds or lesions, however minute, lead to undetected deterioration of the tissues, the lack of pain not triggering an immediate response as in a fully functioning body.”

    Pain is a gift that protects us. Trauma is NOT a gift. Trauma CAUSES pain, but pain and trauma are often incorrectly lumped together.

    That a person is abused causes incredible emotional pain, but the pain is not the issue, the abuse is the issue. Without pain, abuse would continue indefinitely.

    Pain is what reminds us to go to the doctor, or the Great Physician.

    When we CONFUSE pain with the problem, the insideous result is the SOLUTION looks different. If PAIN is the problem, then ANESTHESIA is the answer.

    When we correctly see pain as an indicator, then we correctly see anesthesia as a temporary solution. Alcoholics see pain as the problem, so alcohol is a valid solution. RECOVERY sees resentment, dysfunction and spiritual brokenness as the problem, and most of the 12 steps deal with these issues, because when the underlying issue is dealt with, the compulsion to drink can be dealt with.

    The problem with “fixing symptoms” is that when we try this, the addictions morph. Ask anyone who has quit smoking about their appetite. Ask dieters about their TV habits. Fix one surface issue, develop another.



  7. Wow Vern! I’m overwhelmed by the wisdom of what you shared. Pain gives a voice to the injustice that was done to us. Pain is the warning indicator pointing out evil. Anger is the power to right the wrong. Both gifts from God. Instead of labeling and correcting the evil purpotrated against us by coming to the rescue of the wounded child within us we habitually numb the pain and turn the anger against ourselves and those who love us.


  8. This is so good….Vern, as always what you write is profound and needed….

    Tearsinabottle said-“Instead of labeling and correcting the evil purpotrated against us by coming to the rescue of the wounded child within us we habitually numb the pain and turn the anger against ourselves and those who love us.”

    …when I read this my first thought was that you just defined self-contempt and other-contempt….and both hinder the work of God ….because both deflect us away from our deepest longings and our need of a Savior….

    Dratgosy- good to have you here.


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