The advantages of pain

I have never met anyone who admitted to enjoying pain. 

Most of us flee at the slightest indication that pain might be on its way. We open our bathroom medicine cabinets at the first onset of pain, and search for any tablets like aspirin or other medications.

I was an eight-year-old boy, however, when I first heard that pain is not always bad. I was attending a very small Baptist church in Wales, and the title of the sermon was: ‘The Blessings of Pain’.

I have never forgotten it. Which, I suppose, is a tribute either to the delivery of the sermon or else to the powers of my memory.

The amount of money spent each year on attempts to prevent pain is enormous.  The world’s population consumes around 14 billion doses of pain-relief medication every day. Estimates suggest that one in ten adults  is diagnosed with chronic pain each year, lasting for an average of seven years at a time.

But pain is not all bad. Pain has its uses. Pain is the body’s way of telling us that something needs attention. Pain warns us to be careful.

Without pain we could sit too close to an open fire and get burned. Pain serves to act as a warning of danger. It also tells us that something in our bodies needs fixing.

Sadly, there are some people who go their entire lives without feeling pain.

Pain can be a blessing. Those who don’t believe it should ask 21-year-old Stefan Betz or any of the other people who suffer the disease known as CIP, which is a congenital insensitivity to pain.

Betz can place his hands in boiling water without any warning of the harm the water will do to him. Betz and other sufferers of CIP say they would dearly love to be able to experience pain.

As a child, his parents thought he was mentally retarded. They couldn’t understand why he was constantly bumping into things, and getting bruises and cuts. When he was five, he inadvertently bit off the tip of his tongue, but was unaware of it.

Today, Betz says: “I would love to know what pain means and what it feels like to be in pain. Without it, your life is full of challenges.”

If we were given the opportunity, many of us would want to rid the world entirely of pain, not realising that maybe God has given pain to us for a purpose.