you are suffering, as though something
strange were happening to you.”
I Peter 4:12 (NIV)
Ashley is a beautiful 15 year old girl with long dark hair and the latest style of black framed glasses perched on her nose. She smiles, she laughs, she dances and she talks on the phone with her friends.
She’s your typical teenager except for one very important thing: Ashley does not feel pain. Any pain.
She was born with something called congenital insensitivity to pain. She can feel pressure, yes but pain, no. She feels badly for someone who is hurt and in pain but she cannot describe the feeling herself. Because she has never felt it.
Ashley’s parents knew something wasn’t right soon after she was born but were totally surprised by the diagnosis they were given. A professor following her case commented that while pain is a gift, it is not a gift that Ashley has been given.
Calling pain a gift? Now, honestly, the first thought that someone might have at the idea of feeling NO pain would probably be “That would be fantastic!” Stub your toe? Not a problem! Trying to run a mile or lift weights? You could work right through without feeling pain like everyone else!
But think again. Not feeling an appendicitis attack could lead to life-threatening consequences if you have no concept of a warning pain. And what about getting into a bathtub of extremely hot water? Imagine the burns you could receive because you could not tell the water was scalding hot when you got in the tub.
In today’s Scripture, Peter does not tell us that pain is a gift but he does tell us that in this world we are going to have plenty of it. He even refers to it as the “painful trial you are suffering” and cautions us not to be surprised when it occurs. Perhaps it is physical pain from a life threatening disease but it can also refer to emotional, mental and spiritual pain as well.
Just because we are believers in Christ, we cannot assume that we are exempt from pain. This world is not our home and we are not welcome here. We don’t have to like it or understand it. But we should never assume that God isn’t in control or at work in our lives when the tough stuff hits.
Remember that God knows exactly what is going on. Call on His name. Get into His Word. Hold on to Him and allow Him to hold on to you. He has a plan in everything that happens, including the pain we experience every day
This world will not be around forever and neither will pain. We are told in Revelation 21:4 that Jesus will wipe every tear from our eyes and we will never again experience death or mourning or crying or pain!
How I long for the days of no pain and great gain – with Jesus.
Father, please give me strength and courage for the days of pain ahead, that I may focus on you and eternity. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
R.A.P. it up . . .
Have you ever felt that because you are a Christian you should not have to experience pain in this world?
How does that thinking line up with today’s Scripture?
As you face painful trials in this life, write each one down in your journal.
Then pray “Lord, I am not surprised by this trial. Please give me strength and courage to get through it and keep my focus on you.”
I Peter 4:12 (NIV) “Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you.”
Revelation 21:4 (NIV) “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
Romans 8:18 (NIV) “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.”
(For more of Nancy Hughes' writing, check out her blog, Encouragement from the War Room.)