Listen: Chris Witts presents Morning Devotions.
Many people know what pain is like—it comes in all shapes and varieties. But when you’re in pain, you know about it. Backache or toothache, or worse. But chronic pain is worse—that’s pain that won’t go away. Despite tablets or drugs, there is no relief. Day and night. I can think of nothing worse. It makes life unbearable and is very disruptive. It really does stop you from living a full life—and you can end up feeling angry, depressed and frustrated.
To say nothing of exhaustion. And we can start fearing the worst: What’s wrong with me? Am I seriously ill? Severe pain has the potential to rob you, taking away the ability to enjoy life and maintain good relationships with others. Even your job could be at risk if you take too much time off sick. The simple joys of life become hardship—and who wants that!
I’m not a doctor, yet I have met a lot of people who have emotional pain in their lives. For whatever reason, we can appear to be healthy and happy—yet deep down lies hidden pain or wounds that are not obvious. Sometimes this life can hurt us so badly that we don’t know what to do, or who to talk to. And there can come times when the wound is so deep we wonder if healing is even possible.
Physical and Emotional Pain
What I am saying is that we experience emotional pain as physical pain, as has been discovered by recent research. This means that for example when you are experiencing heartache, your heart actually does hurt—well, perhaps not your heart, but something in your body does hurt and badly. When you feel heartache or anxiety or frustration, it hurts.
Most of us have a very low tolerance for this pain of heartache. We want to make it go away as fast as possible. And I can understand this. When you have a headache, you want to take a painkiller, and if you body hurts, you want to rest, sleep or go to the doctor to find out what’s wrong. It’s true: physical pain often does indicate something is wrong with out bodies.
Emotional pain is different however, even if we experience it physically. The best way to deal with emotional pain is to feel it. You may feel heartbreak or loneliness or even frustration and wonder if you are going to be OK. You feel anxiety about the pain and wonder if the pain will ever stop and if you are going to survive it.
The Bible has a lot that can help us. Job, a man who suffered greatly in his life, went through a terrible period of pain—physical and mental—and he said in Job 16:6, “Yet if I speak, my pain is not relieved; and if I refrain, it does not go away”. He spent years of torment and misunderstandings.
His pain did not heal overnight. And yet he persevered until God healed him and life was restored.
(To be continued in Pain That Does Not Go Away – Part 2)