"Kill me Daddy, shoot me, please!" - that's not something you want to hear your son repeadetly say as you are watching him agonizing in pain in every one of his molecule for two long days after a painful surgery. We've spent many days with all three of our kids in all kinds of hospitals under all kinds of circumstances, but this surgery of our 14-year-old son, Renato wrote a new chapter in the Medical Saga of our family. The chapter's title is: Pain. As we were sitting next to his bed for long hours and days, our mind started wondering what good can come out of such pain and how could we ease his pain.
As the third day after the surgery came we hoped the pain will ease. That was true until the therapist came and forced him to move his arms and to sit up. That triggered more pain with the first tears in his eye. We saw that the road to health leads through the field of pain. There is no healing without pain. If you want to get well, you need to cause pain and need to force yourself to do things that are painful, hurtful, difficult for you - it's true physically, emotionally, relationally and spiritually, too.
Through pain God is telling us that we are not healthy, that something is wrong. Sometimes God brings pain into our life because through that He could put us on the road to healing. (Not every pain leads to healing, but it tells us that something goes wrong and we need to pay attention to it.) Many times our soul, our relationships, our emotions are screaming at us in pain, telling us that we are not healthy and unfortunately too many times we chock those screaming voices of our painful soul with substitutes. We take "painkillers" to kill the pain of our soul, of our hurting relationships, of our wounded emotions. We take the "pill of power", we take "pill of recognition", we take the "pill of sex", we take the "pill of shopping", we take the "pill of money" or "pill of entertainment" to kill the pain of our empty life. But without facing what cause those pains and working ourselves through them, we will never be healthy.
We all experience all kinds of pain in life. Change is pain. Uncertainty is pain. Ambiguity is pain. Disappointment is pain. Failure is pain. Every time we loose control we experience pain. The pain of loosing control is pointing us to the health of living under the control of God because that's what real health is. That's why in Heaven there will be no pain because we all will be well. There will be nothing to get healed there, so pain will loose it's purpose to pointing us toward health and telling us that something is wrong.
How many times I wished in the past few days that I would be in my son's place. I would much rather take the pain he had then see him going through this pain. But God doesn't bring anything into our life and into our loved one's life that is not necessary for growth. God allows pain (physical, spiritual, emotional, relational, etc.) in our children's life because it is necessary for their growth. To force pain on some you love in order for him/her to get well is a real sign of your real love for that person. Letting them stay painless and saving them from pain (i.e. disappointment, failures, etc.) is taking away their future health. Therefore pain and causing healing pain on your loved ones can be good.
We can't cope with pain, so we look for ways to ease it. I saw how the doctors did everything trying to ease the pain of our son. I wished so much to find a way to help him in his pain. Than he wishpered: "Daddy, hold my hand!" The only way - outside of prayer - how I can ease my son's pain is to be there with him and holding his hand. We need presence in the road of pain. The presence of someone we love! A "purposeless" presence when you don't want to fix something, to achieve something, to change something or to accomplish a project. A presence when you know you can't do anything other than just to be there. You are just there with the sufferer, because that's how he/she can share the pain with you - through your presence. And we want to share the pain, because we were not created for it. Pain was not in the original plan of God. A presence of another person shares our pain and makes it easier for us to bare it! Isn't that's what partially the purpose of the Church is: to be present in the wounded, painful, sick world and through this presence make life less painful? Isn't that's part of why we all need to be members of a local Body of Christ, because through our presence in the local church we say to each other: "I'm here with you to share the pain you experience"? Just to be present, just to be there communicates the bonding that we were created for with each other and with God. Your presence gives a sense of belonging to others and that belonging gives relief to the pain of their soul. If you don't feel how just your presence in the church is crucial to ease the pain in the pain in others and in you, than your soul is numb because very likely you spiritually paralyzed.
Jesus is not only promising his power, his forgiveness or his guidance, but He is promising his PRESENCE: "I'm with you always!" Without His presence we can't cope with the pain of life! He knows how this "presence" is important, because nobody was present to share his pain! Even the Father had leave His Only Son alone in His suffering! He was left alone in His horrible pain! What a love for us who were His enemies! How thankful I'm for such love!
How thankful I'm that I can be present to hold the hand of my suffering son!