Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Positive Pain



“Flee also youthful lusts.” (2 Timothy 2:22)


Writer Philip Yancey says he used to think of pain as “God’s mistake”

until he visited Dr. Paul Brand who has spent his career treating

victims of leprosy.


Leprosy destroys the human body by destroying its ability to feel pain.


One of Dr. Brand’s projects was to create an “artificial pain system.”

It involved creating special gloves and shoes for leprosy victims

that would indicate to them when a temperature was too hot,

or when a sensation of pressure was intense enough to crush

their fingers or toes.


Under “pain” conditions, these sensors would set off an alarm.


After years of hard work and research, Dr. Brand and his team

had to declare defeat.


They found that no matter how sophisticated they made the

pain system, it was no substitute for the real thing. Patients

would ignore the loud, siren alarms and the flashing lights

telling them to stop some activity. In fact, if the patients

were involved in some activity that they didn’t want to stop,

they would often turn off the alarm warning them of danger.


The alarms just weren’t as effective at changing their behavior

as actual pain was.1


Suggested prayer: “Dear God, help me to realize that pain

such as a sensitive conscience and guilt are God-given blessings

to warn me of oncoming danger or disaster. And give me the

good sense to heed these warnings and flee all temptations

no matter how appealing they may appear. Gratefully,

in Jesus’ name. Amen.”


1. Pain: The Tool of the Wounded Surgeon by Philip Yancey.

Christianity Today (March 24, 1978, p. 12–14).

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