“Only if I can feel the pain can I feel anything.”

While cleaning my desk, I ran across a business card on which I had written this phrase. I don’t remember what the magazine article was about but the conclusion made an impact on me. Years ago, I read a story about a doctor that ministered to lepers in Europe. Infected patients lose fingers and toes because the disease destroys the nerve endings andresulting in loss of all feeling. This causes burns from a hot stove or pan, cuts from a knife with only the blood indicating a problem, even the horror of gnawed toes by rodents goes unnoticed. Pain is good; it is necessary. Pain is an indicator that something is wrong and needs attention. As we trudge through life, some days it feels like we have hit every bump and rock in the way. Battered and bruised, we look for a way out without correcting our compass or consulting the map. We continue to run into obstacles and are lost – and in pain. How do we handle pain? Pain is the constant companion for athletes as they train. No pain, no gain. Stretching the body to its limit and then pushing it even further causes the muscles to grow strong and enables them to do more. Emotional pain with a friend hurts, too, but it lets us know that we need to look at what is going on in the relationship. Avoidance, the easy answer, will never solve the problem but working through it and making necessary changes will often make the relationship even stronger. No one likes the pain resulting from discipline – whether it is my granddaughters or me. But the benefits of this discipline are for my good. In Hebrews 12:11 it says, No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening—it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way. (NLT) God does not want us drift into more trouble but urges us to choose a better way just like any good parent does with his willful child. I have experienced emotional pain that was so great that I did not want to go on. Yet, I learned that if I ignore the pain, my heart becomes dull and I am useless to my Father. The lesson for all of us is to be willing to accept that discipline and feel the pain that cleanses us and makes us useable for His purpose. My prayer is that I never waste pain – I always learn from it.