It’s easy to dismiss pain when you’re not the one feeling it. We casually say things like, “just endure it”, “hang in there”, and even admonish the person to “pray through it” when in reality, these things are not simply said and done. People are well-meaning and for sure, it is to try their best to encourage you, but I recently realized that the words we casually say to people and the way we dismiss or trivialize their pain, actually fail on the primary reason that they simply do not know.
You guys know that I recently had an accident and the words I’ve used to describe the pain don’t really give the whole picture of what I was experiencing. That’s the thing about pain. It must be felt personally. It demands to be felt, as Yancey puts it. My sister was trying her hardest at staying focus when I was hysterically crying and begging her to call an ambulance, a doctor, just anybody to help me with my situation. I laugh at it now hearing how my cries were like that of a pig being sentenced to her death, ready for slaughter, but I kid you not. At that moment that I was holed up in that corner, my right hand holding the closet rail and my entire right upper extremities was hurting like nothing I’ve ever known, I was at a place nobody would be able to understand. I remember muttering words to Jem like, “you don’t know the pain!” and she validated it by saying, “yes, I don’t, so how?” On hindsight, she did have a point. Unless she feels the pain I was experiencing, it was really hard for me to get the point across. It’s painful. And the best expression for that was for me to cry it out. No, wail it out like a banshee.
Anyway, I was thankful that Jem kept her cool and was focused on what needed to be done. I on the other hand? I was playing the pity party. Alone in that room, even naked, I cried out to God for that one hour which seemed forever. “Didn’t you say you were our present help in times of trouble?” “Didn’t you say to call out to you when we need you the most?” “Then I need you now, Lord.” “Please, please, help me with this shoulder.” “Lord, where are you?” “Lord, it really, really hurts.” “Lord, please.”
I suppose because I started on the argument that pain must be felt in order to be understood, then it would shame me to know that in fact, Jesus does know. He knows the pain. He knows physical pain that I would never, probably in my lifetime, know. He himself went through it at the cross. And at the face of “abandonment” when God turned his back on his own son, He did cry the same anguish that my little ordeal cried out. Why have you forsaken me?
But did He? It’s only now, writing this with a sling on my arm, and comfortably seated on my bed, that I look back on all those times God spared this incident from happening on much worse conditions. Like when I play badminton or I’m at kickboxing or yoga, or when I’m on a hike or even driving. Imagine if my shoulder got dislocated on any of these situations. More, what if I were by myself that time? Say, it happened at night, when friends are asleep and there’s no one to call, and I’m naked again after the shower, and no staff to come by. Things can always be worse. And God’s grace always remains.
This embarrassed me before the Lord, because of all things I can accuse Him of, indifference to pain? No, my Lord knew pain. He lived it.