Psalm 119:67 Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep your word. 71 It is good for me that I have been afflicted, that I might learn your statutes.
Dr. Paul Brand was an amazing man who led an amazing life. I remember hearing him lecture and talk about the gift of pain. Just those three words, "gift of pain" jolted me. He went on to say pain can help us realize that something is wrong. It makes us seek medical help.
Then he told that God might use emotional and spiritual pain to move us to seek his help.
The truth is that some of us stubborn, willful types, need pain to come to our senses. I was one of those people. God reached me at a low point in my life. I was sick of the person I had become, and tired being sick. The pain led me to find people who could help me recover balance and wholeness.
In these two verses of Psalm 119 the writer is thankful for pain. Affliction helped him come back to God, and learn about God.
So what about compassion? Certainly we are also called to alleviate pain and suffering. There is great good in that. But there are times when we treat the symptoms of people's pain and forget about dealing with root cause.
I hate pain, and hate to see people in pain. I want those two asprin and I want them now. Yet, sometimes pain, emotional, spiritual, physical, and mental is the one thing that turns us to God.
At the very least, pain can tell us there is something in our body, or in our life that needs attention. And at the very best it can lead us to find healing for both body and soul.
May whatever pain is in your life become part of grace. Amen