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Saturday, December 24, 2016

I don't want this pain anymore!

Those who love discipline love knowledge, but fools hate any kind of correction. The Eternal prefers those who do good, but He condemns those who plot evil. Doing what is wrong keeps everyone off balance and insecure, but those who do right will never be uprooted. (Proverbs 12:1-3 VOICE)

Okay, getting totally "real" with you today I'd have to admit enduring discipline is the furthest thing from "fun" and "enjoyable"! In fact, it is downright hard and very humbling. Without it I'd never have grown, nor would I have realized some of the tremendous things I have come to know and appreciate. Paul tells us to count it all joy when we encounter these rough places, because they will produce things like endurance, solid character, and patience. I am not sure why God uses these tough places as times to create such awesome stuff within us, but it may just be that tough skin of pride we have that just cannot be permeated otherwise! Fools hate any kind of correction - they are content to live in their foolishness - not wanting anything to get through their tough exterior and into the protected or secret places of their heart, mind, and spirit. They want to avoid the things which are uncomfortable because comfort is much easier.

If you have ever had something that gave you a lot of pain, you will understand what I am about to say. At about five years of age, my daughter was at the lake with us one day just prior to us moving from northern California back to Arizona. It was a lovely day and not too hot. I slathered both the kids in sunscreen as I always did, but somehow her light skin took in those sun rays and she actually had blisters by the end of the night the size of quarters and fifty cent pieces all over her back, shoulders and chest! It was a rough couple of days while she endured the pain of that burn. She couldn't rest, her every move caused her pain, and all of the resources of her body were focused on managing that insult to her system. That is what happens with pain - resources are tapped like never before and rest is impossible until the pain is relieved.

Pain doesn't have to be physical - it can be emotional, as well. I almost think the harder pain to deal with is that of the wounded or hurt emotions. They just don't heal as quickly as the stubbed toe or the blistered burn. They leave scars just like the physical wounds do, but they are much deeper and usually not as easily recognized as the more "outward" ones. It seems hard to think that someone who is wounded and in pain might have to endure anymore pain, right? You'd think the way "out" of pain was to walk away from the pain. Rarely does this work entirely well, though, for emotional pain has a way of following you in the form of memories that are hard to be free of later on down the road.

Sometimes the greatest pain relief we experience is when we face our pain head-on and then begin to have someone help us diagnose that pain. When I went through my knee replacement, I had hoped to be out of pain within a couple weeks of surgery. I went through about ten months of excruciating pain instead, until I finally told my surgeon we had to do something to figure out why the pain was there. While I didn't relish a return to the operating room, it became quite apparent this was going to be necessary. In rather short order, the reason for my pain became evident as he explored the knee - bone had grown onto the tendon - something that happens in rare cases. It was causing friction each time I bent the knee and that was the cause of all that pain! A small, less than a few millimeters of bone where it had no business being!

Most of the time, the pain we feel emotionally isn't from the really big stuff - it can be from the tiniest of stuff being somewhere it shouldn't be! Memories tucked away, not really realizing we are "filing" them away, per se. Then in the course of time, they begin to "rub" and cause "friction" that begins to escalate into painful stimuli. That pain demands attention and eventually it will be the thing that consumes us. That tiny thing being where it should not be gives us all that grief, causes us unease and an inability to really find rest, and eventually demands more resources to deal with than we might have ever imagined. While we might not like discipline, nor do we relish the thought of having things which cause us pain exposed so they can be dealt with, it is oh so necessary! Just sayin!