Article: The Pain of Healing
The Pain of Healing
Recently, I had all my wisdom teeth removed. After a couple days I started to feel pain. As each day went on, the pain got worse and worse. The pain became unbearable so I called the doctor for a follow up appointment as I was scared that I had gotten an infection. Typically, the pain subsides over time, yet what I was experiencing was the opposite. There was no swelling, fever or any other visible signs to indicate an infection. The only thing present was the pain I was feeling. The doctor completed an examination and found no causes for concern. He shared that I was likely experiencing “healing pain” that a few of his adult patients experience. He assured me that I was on the right track and sent me on my way.
I went home still in pain, actually in more pain from the examination, yet relieved that it would get better soon based on the assurance of his word. A couple days later, I was so tired of the pain, I decided I wasn’t going to eat. I desperately wanted relief, so if it meant giving up something I needed, I was willing to do it. For those that are familiar with the wisdom tooth extraction process, you know the post-op treatment plan requires that you do saltwater rinses after each meal. Giving up food meant I could skip the saltwater rinse. After going most of the day without eating, I realized I hadn’t experienced any pain that day. When I finally decided to eat, I followed up my meal by completing the saltwater rinse, and like clock work the pain returned. I didn’t realize that my pain stemmed not only from the impact of the procedure, but also from the work I was required to do to aid in the healing process.
The need for healing means you’ve already experienced some level of pain whether physical or emotional. It’s kind of cruel, don’t you think, to have to experience more pain to get better? Going to physical therapy after a car accident will be painful, but if prescribed by the physician, it is necessary for recovery. Going to a therapist to discuss childhood trauma can be emotionally draining and stir up a lot of pain, but it is necessary to fully heal from those experiences. Obeying God’s voice to end relationships could make one feel the pain of loneliness, but necessary to avoid, only God knows how much trouble. And if you are like me, giving up fast food can feel painful (in your mind), but necessary to heal the body of heart disease, diabetes, inflammation and other ailments. We often associate doing the right thing with a “feel good” sensation but doing what is right and necessary can hurt.
Being human, I tried to avoid the pain. The post-op instructions specifically stated not to skip meals because food is needed to nourish your body to help it heal. While I was able to get by with not eating for almost a day, ultimately, I had to eat and endure the pain associated with it. You cannot avoid the pain of healing. Trying to do so will delay your process and cause further complications. Like the doctor, God has given us instructions for how we are to deal with the pain of our healing process. He also gives us a sneak preview in to what the outcome will be.
His word says in 1 Peter 5:10 "After you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you." Now if I can trust a man that I don’t know, but based on a few google reviews and a referral, allowed him to put me under anesthesia, then how much more can I trust the ultimate physician with the pain I experience in life? Do I really believe that he will restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish me if I continue to go through these difficult moments, if I continue to do the painful work healing requires? If I humble myself and pray? If I reflect on myself and my errors and repent of my sins? If I deny my flesh? If I rebuke my pride that wants to make it known that I’m right?
"For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory" (2 Corinthians 4:17). This can be a little hard to digest at times as I know the affliction feels far from light! It has caused all sorts of disruption in your life and the lives of others. Perhaps it has led to self-isolation - not wanting to go anywhere or be around anyone. I understand and I feel your pain. When it gets tough, instead of running from it like I tried to do, remind yourself that you are under divine care. Rest in the assurance of His word despite what you see or don't see, feel or don't feel. God is not only the greatest physician you can possibly have, he also holds your future. Unlike medical doctors, He has a guaranteed outcome and a perfect record of stellar performance! I highly recommend Him! And in the words of my brother in Christ, M. Clark, “I TRUST the Healer.”
Allow the pain of healing to do a deeper work in you that draws your closer to Him. "That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings... "(Philippians 3:10 KJV).