Why It’s Not Your Job to Prevent Pain

Why It's Not Your Job to Prevent PainA couple weekends ago, my husband planned a trip to Ohio to visit one of his friends and wanted to take our son along (8 hours away, if you calculate it without a toddler in the back seat).

It was going to be the first time in 19 months that I’d be baby-free for more than a few hours.

It terrified me to think of not being there to anticipate my son’s needs, put him down for a nap, comfort him, or make sure he ate some vegetables.

What if he cried in his carseat for hours?

What if he wouldn’t go to sleep in a new place?

What if he stole toys from their little girl?

What if he experienced (gasp) pain?

It caused me to question some of the beliefs I didn’t know I had:
1. It is my job as a wife and mother to try to keep my husband and child from feeling pain.
2. I need to do everything I can to prevent anything bad from happening.

What if I failed?

Occupation: Pain Prevention Squad
Sometimes, when we see those we love going through difficulties, it feels like we’re the ones with the hangnail being ripped off.

We wish would could take it away or even take it on ourselves.

But God has never shied away from pain, because there is something He values even more than our comfort.

  • Joseph was falsely accused and thrown into prison. (Genesis 39)
  • The prophet Isaiah was told no one would listen to his message. (Isaiah 6)
  • Daniel kept praying to God despite a king’s edict and was thrown into a lion’s den. (Daniel 6)
  • John the Baptist lost his head because of his preaching. (Mark 6)

Why It's Not Your Job to Prevent PainGod wants our hearts–and the hearts of everyone around us. He was willing to send His own Son to die an excruciating death so that we could be His sons and daughters. And, like a loving parent, He wants us to experience His spiritual blessings.

According to Ephesians 1, God . . .

. . . chose us before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight

. . . adopted us as his children

. . . lavished us with grace with all wisdom and understanding

. . . redeemed us through his blood

. . . forgave our sins

. . . worked everything out according to his will so that we could bring him glory

. . . marked us with a seal, the Holy Spirit, guaranteeing our inheritance in heaven

2 Corinthians 4:17-18 says, “For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”

Our pain has a purpose. My child’s pain has a purpose. I may not see it on this side of eternity, but if my son’s pain causes him to see his need for Jesus, I’d much rather he experience spiritual blessings with pain than live a comfortable life.

Why It's Not Your Job to Prevent Pain

C.S. Lewis, in his book, The Problem of Pain, says that “pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” 
If I believe I serve a loving Father, who delights in His relationship with me, I can crawl into His arms, knowing that he may be using our family’s pain in any number of ways. . .

. . . to refine us.

. . . to protect us from further pain.

. . . to grow us.

. . . to guide us.

Sometimes our fear of pain can eclipse the rays of blessing Jesus wants us to feel.

When I was able to lay my fears in Jesus’ capable arms, I was free to enjoy the gift of solitude while my family was away. Isaiah got some really special “Daddy time,” learning how to communicate with him without Mommy intervention. Everyone came back in one piece. And I got the chance to see how efficient I can be when I’m alone in the house–and that I don’t care to.

I’d much rather trip over toys on the floor than be able to see what color the carpet is. I’d rather cook meals that get devoured in ten minutes than have no one to cook for. I’d rather risk pain than abandon my relationships to avoid it.

And seriously, who doesn’t like to listen to little-boy animal and truck sounds all day long?

Spirit, please lead us out of our fear of pain and into a place of trust. Please take our painful experiences and make something beautiful out of each one. You are worthy.

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7 thoughts on “Why It’s Not Your Job to Prevent Pain

  1. Wise words, Alicia. Glad you got some time alone and that you also were reenergized to be with your little guy again. These were helpful thoughts about not running from pain but learning through it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Jessie. I feel I have so much to learn about God’s view of pain, but I’m grateful He put us together as part of the family of believers. Thinking of and praying for you as you prepare for your transition this summer.

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  2. Alicia, Again, I read your musing with keen interest. I have never been a mother,with the hour by hour care of a toddler.However, your vivid description of the thoughts that came into your mind gave me a glimpse of a mother’s heart. I believe it was a learning experience for you.

    I admire you for allowing Christopher to spend quality time with Isaiah. I suspect Christoper learned a few important things.

    Continue reflecting and writing.

    Uncle Paul

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  3. We loved having your little man with us for a few days (and Christopher, too!). I made sure he ate some vegetables. 😉
    I can definitely identify with the belief that I am the one that can keep Annelise from pain. That I have to be control. Thanks for your insights, and for sharing your heart.

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    1. Isaiah certainly was in loving hands between his daddy and you and Jason. In fact, I can’t really think of a better place for him to have gone for his first trip away from his mama. Thanks for your friendship and for loving those around you. (Christopher shared some special stories from his time there.) You are a blessing!

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