It is early Friday morning as I sit down to write out the thoughts that have been stirring in my mind about  “Pain”.  I grab my bowl of oatmeal and turn on the tv to check the news and weather.  Timing is perfect, on pops a commercial.  Here is the scenario:  several people ask a woman various questions and her response to each one is “cold sore”.  Then the ad kicks in, “when you have a cold sore you can’t think of anything else”.  The answer, Campho-phenique.  If you have ever had a cold sore you can easily relate to this commercial, I know I can. 

Here are a few thoughts on how pain impacts life:

  1. Pain Desires Control –

This commercial not only displays the problem with cold sores but with pain in general.  Pain demands our attention.  It tries to take over.  Even the smallest point of pain can demand that everything else stop and focus on this area.  A grain of sand in your eye, a paper cut, or a stone in your shoe are not the greatest examples of pain but each one will certainly cause us to stop and focus on the issue.  It begins with an astute awareness that something is wrong and then an intense focus seeking the cause of the pain. This is followed by an immediate search for a fix, solution, cure, or remedy.  And it is not just physical pain that has this ability to control our life.  The scope of where pain can exist is vast; seemingly endless.  Because we are all so aware of what pain is, how it feels, and the threat it brings to our life we rightly react when it’s appearance or even the threat of its presence is recognized.  We yield control. 

     2.  Pain Demands Focus – 

One of the most successful tactics the enemy employs is a simple statement, “There is something wrong with you!”  It seems harmless enough.  Yet at the same time there is an insinuation that what’s wrong is worse than we know and the only responsible action is to attempt to find out what is “wrong”.  Through the years I have heard multitudes of people recount hearing this implication in multifaceted ways.  Sometimes it is a feeling, or a thought, or a diagnosis, or a comment from someone else, etc…  Whatever it takes to have influence and control in our lives in an attempt to move our focus off of God. 

So, a key issue here is the issue of focus.  Knowing that “what you focus on will control your life”, the question must be asked, “What are you focusing on?”.  Is pain dominating your focus?  Is the majority of your focus being given to locating the source,  understanding the cause, or finding the prescription to stop or at least reduce the pain.  Again, these are understandable responses.  But are they beneficial.  Even if we get the answers to the questions, does that solve the issue?  Usually not!  So what is the alternative?

       3.  Pain Distracts from God –

It goes back to focus.  Instead of focusing on the pain issues, let’s focus on God.  The discomfort of pain does not get to distract us from the ultimate source of help, and healing.  As counterintuitive as it feels, He can not only give us the understanding of what is going on (and why) but also resolution.  The good news is that God has more than enough healing (fix, solution, cure, remedy) for any pain at any point of our life (Ps.103). In and through the finished work of Jesus we are the beneficiaries of endless resources to conquer, defeat, vanquish pain from our lives, and grace, comfort and power to live beyond the control of pain.  Let’s not allow pain to distract us from God.  Only He gets control in our lives.  Let’s start with and stay with our focus on God!

Pastor Sam

PS – Because I know you are still thinking about the commercial!  Enjoy!

PSS – Guess what I got later in the day… cold-sore!

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