Friday, May 11, 2012

Pain is not the Opposite of Joy

Knowing that some may be coming to visit me for the first time from Raising Arrows,  I am re-posting what I consider to be one of the essential posts.  
To give you a summary, I have always found the subject of joy a bit scary.  I figured there were be corresponding lows to any high.  Joy was fragile.  Joy was something that enabled one to endure in a godly manner, but too often I was caught up in dealing with the problem in my life or that of someone else.  Joy, for me, I finally realized, is a matter of trusting the Father completely.  If there is a corresponding low to a felt joy,  is He able to see me through it?  Of  course.  Furthermore, it finally, finally hit me that rejoicing (root word being joy!) is a command.  I don't have a choice about this.  It is not a luxury I can simply pass on.  

I invite, encourage, urge and plea for your input on this subject!  I'm sure many understand and live this more fully than my toddling steps and look forward to your insights!

Pain is not the opposite of joy. Pleasure is the opposite of pain.
My friend who lived in a non-western country during her growing up years told me that we in the west view pain very differently than much of the rest of the world, and sometimes to our detriment. Pain is an expected part of life in much of the world where they do not have the luxuries we take for granted. While I'm not ready to forego pain relief after surgery, nor do I think it's advisable, I am willing to consider that we come to fear pain to the point we don't see it's benefits. And fear is turning away from trust in the Father. If our minds are not stayed on Christ, there is no perfect peace. (Is 26:3).
I believe it was in the book Fearfully and Wonderfully Made, that the author explained how victims of leprosy loose limbs not due to the disease, but due to the lack of pain. They endanger their limbs and bodies in general because things simply do not hurt. This leads to damage, and eventually the loss of limbs. Pain alerts us to the fact something is wrong. Pain can protect us.
Pain may also cleanse us. Are we in pain because our selfish desires are not met or our reputation upheld? Maybe it needs to be purged. Are we in pain because we are not experiencing the pleasure we craved, maybe our appetities need retrained.
I don't want to write about physical pain. So many have suffered so much for the sake of Christ. It is an area I loathe to consider. I confess I'm not eager to join their exalted ranks . (Rev 12:11) But Paul said our example is Christ, who for the joy set before Him endured.....Hebrews 12:2-3
Wait. For the joy, He endured. Consider Him. Consider Him so you don't grow weary or loose heart. Endure for the joy set before .
C.S. Lewis in The Great Divorce, beautifully portrays how this earth is such a shadow, it is not true Reality. What is above is Really Real!
May the Father increase our love of Him so that we can endure for the joy that is set before us!

1 comment:

  1. Hi, Monique --

    You're so right about pain -- our culture avoids it, almost to the extreme! And I remember that part of Fearfully and Wonderfully Made -- Philip Yancey and Paul Brand, right?

    Thank you so much for frequenting my CB blog and offering so much encouragement. By all means, if there is something there you think is worth quoting, go ahead! I'm honoured to have Him use me to bless others:)

    Have a wonderful Christmas!