Tuesday, June 20, 2006

The Sting of Pain

While I was mixing Miracle Gro in my red watering can on Monday, a bee decided that he would interrupt my day and sting my arm. His decision derailed my plans for the day. With a homemade baking soda paste on the sting, I immediately began re-working my schedule. The inconvenience made me angrier than the sting.

Pain introduces me to unwanted parts of myself. When I was in high school, my mother’s industrial strength hot glue gun left a second-degree burn on my leg. I instantly screamed, “I’m gonna have a scar! What will I do about wearing shorts?” In that moment of pain, the intense vanity hidden in my heart reared its face.

Twelve years have since passed, and the scar has almost faded. Has the vanity faded as well? Judging from the size of my make-up box and the assortment of eye shadows inside, vanity unfortunately still seems to have a place in my life.

C.S. Lewis coined pain as “God’s megaphone” that “removes the veil” between God and humanity. This megaphone blasts and my hands cover my ears for protection.

Why must we have pain?

Everyday I pray for my friends earnestly hoping for a baby. They are healthy, young couples who desperately want to get pregnant. The husband to one of my most respected friends now lives with cancer. Last year, a young husband lost his wife as she died suddenly with a blood clot. Her death brought a void into all of our lives. The pain blares in our souls. Will it grow so loud that we break?

George MacDonald represented God speaking to men by saying “You must be strong with my strength and blessed with my blessedness, for I no other to give you.” God can give us nothing outside of Himself. He pours out His divine blessing from His own heart. Why do we ask Him for something else?

Instead of stepping out of our lives to look around, what happens if we dive into the reality of our lives and start swimming? There we find God.

Pain, a part of our lives and humanity and existence, pulls us towards God and into each other. Pain exists as a rope between us, not a cruel punishment that crushes us.

The bee sting urged me to contact a friend for advice. He told me to put snuff on it or go and buy a cigarette a Robinson’s Superette and rub the tobacco on the wound. My mom advised me to run and to see Ronnie Brown at Conyers Pharmacy. He fixes everything. She called later in the day to tell me that she loved me.

That blasted bee pulled me back into the reality and the strength of my support system that I usually cannot see. The small flicker of pain caused by a summer sting shouted to me that I am loved.

Still, telling someone “my bee sting hurts” is much easier than confessing that “my heart is broken”, “my loneliness keeps me up at night”, or “my fear is drowning me.” The pain must be heard.

Luke, a Christ follower, wrote about a woman who encountered Jesus. She had been bleeding for twelve years and no one could stop her pain. Luke 8:47 tells “When the woman realized that she couldn't remain hidden, she knelt trembling before Him. In front of all the people, she blurted out her story—why she touched Him and how at that same moment she was healed.”

She, like us, cannot remain hidden in her pain. Blurt out your story. God will hear you.

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