The Purpose of Pain

As a parent, I hate seeing my children in pain. Yet, in the 17 years I have been a mom, I have had to do just that: three broken bones, two surgeries, a concussion, countless shots and skinned knees and cuts and who knows what else.

Sometimes, though, I have to make the decision to inflict pain on my children.
IMG_4977I had to do that today. My son needed oral surgery to remove an impacted tooth. If this tooth weren’t removed, it could have messed up his whole mouth, causing major pain in the future. But in order to remove the tooth, the doctor had to cut into his bone, extract the tooth, and stitch Thomas back up. You squeamish folks just got a little sick reading that sentence. Imagine having to sign the paper giving permission for it to happen? It’s awful.

But the alternative was worse. So I signed the paper. I took Thomas to the surgeon, sat and watched while he was put to sleep, and then waited impatiently until the nurse came back to tell me he was out of surgery. Tonight, I am feeding him chicken noodle soup and dreading the moment when the numbness wears off and the soreness kicks in.

What comforts me, though, is the knowledge that once he recovers, this won’t be an issue again. That tooth is out, his other teeth will be fine, and life will go on. This momentary pain really will be worth it in the long run.

Sometimes God, the perfect Father, has to do this for us. He allows pain because there are areas in our lives that are “sick” – relationships, or circumstances, or activities. We may not even know there’s a problem. But God does. And He loves us too much to let that problem fester and cause greater pain down the road. So he removes them or him or it from our lives, and we are left bleeding and hurting and confused. Why would a loving God do this??IMG_4988

When we told Thomas he would be having this surgery, he didn’t scream or cry or argue. He trusts Dave and me, and he accepted that this is something he needs. He wasn’t excited about it, but neither did he go in with a bad attitude.

If Thomas can trust his very imperfect parents to do what is best for him, why can’t we trust our very perfect Father to do what is best for us? God is good. He loves us. And He knows far more than we do what we need.

Maybe the purpose of the pain you are experiencing right now is for good, because God is protecting you from something worse. Trust Him. Cling to Him. He’s a good, good Father.

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