Suffering to Healing

I spent the weekend with the flu.  Not that this is anything that you necessarily wanted to know, but it really is how I spent the last two days.  Without describing in detail my symptoms, let me just say that it is very frustrating to deal with continual, annoying, and debilitating pain.  Therefore the subject of this blog is suffering.  Here are a few things about suffering that this weekend reminded me of:

Pain is a show-stopper.  It takes all our energy just to do the basics of life.

Pain is an attention grabber.  It’s difficult to focus on anything else.

Pain is a joy-sucker.  It’s hard to be happy when we’re in pain.

Pain is a relationship-damper.  It’s hard to be loving and other-centered when we are just trying to survive the day.

Pain is a hope-stealer.  “When will I get better?” is the unanswerable question.

If you’re dealing with pain – physical, emotional, or relational, it has the tendency to do all the above.  The antidote is to reduce life to what really matters: our relationship with God and our relationships with those we truly love.  The only steps that were constrictive this weekend were steps taken towards others: my wife, my friends, and God.   That’s still the place where meaning is found and joy will continue to come.  Don’t let the pain distract you from taking steps that will bring about healing.  

Jim Keller