The Power of Pain

power of pain

Muhammad Taslim Razin | Flickr


When we experience difficult circumstances, or when we begin the difficult journey of examining our core beliefs, it’s not usually a pleasant process. In fact, it’s often quite painful.

Digging into deeply entrenched beliefs and habits can bring up feelings of hurt, sadness, anger, loneliness, abandonment — feelings that we often just want to stop feeling.

Sometimes, it somehow seems easier to ignore the problems created by leaving these issues unaddressed, or to hope and pray that God will somehow just take them away. But even when people try to ignore the pain of recurring problems, it remains a primary factor in their relationships and behavior.

As much as I might like them to go away, difficult emotions and responses are God’s gift to me – a valuable window into my soul. Pain tells me when something is not as it should be. It can lead me to healing that changes more than just my parenting. If I view pain as negative, it can cause me to escape, deny, or try to cover it up.

Consider this beautiful story from the life of Dr. Paul Brand, as recorded by Philip Yancey:

Most people view pain as an enemy. Yet, as my leprosy patients prove, it forces us to pay attention to threats against our bodies. Without it, heart attacks, strokes, ruptured appendixes, and stomach ulcers would occur without warning. I noticed that the symptoms my patients complained about were actually a display of bodily healing at work. Virtually every response of our bodies that we view with irritation or disgust – blister, callus, swelling, fever, sneeze, cough, vomiting, and especially pain – demonstrates a reflex toward health. In all these things normally considered enemies, we can find reason to be grateful.

No matter how much I might whine, plead, or bargain, God won’t just deliver me from the chaos and painful emotions of family life. It is my false core belief that needs healing, not my emotional symptoms. God will not take away my symptoms at the expense of my spiritual growth. He wants my frustration, confusion, and even despair to drive me to him – not to another formula to make the pain go away.

God invites us to boldly enter a process of transformation. Only by working to identify false beliefs and to hold them up against truth can those beliefs and the “stuck” patterns we find ourselves in be transformed.

Apply It Now:

  • Reflect back: When has a difficult process been the source of helpful change in your life?
  • Looking over some of these examples, what might be some false beliefs that you are believing?

This post is an excerpt from our book, How to Grow a Connected Family.