Home > Uncategorized > The Necessity of Pain

The Necessity of Pain


6 year old Ashlyn Blocker literally feels no pain. Ashlyn is one of a handful of people in the world with Congenital Insensitivity to Pain, or CIPA, an extremely rare genetic disorder that prevents her from sensing pain.

“You might think that’s a good thing,” says Ashlyn’s mother Tara, “But it’s not. Pain is there for a reason.”

We humans will do anything to avoid pain in life. In some Christian circles it’s become quite standard to teach, explicitly or by not so subtle inference, that “faithful” Christians are immune to or exempt from pain. Nothing could be further from the truth, or more injurious to our Walk.

In the first chapter of the book of James, we are told to “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.” And the Apostle Paul talked in 2nd Corinthians of being afflicted, persecuted, and “struck down”, but NOT being crushed or perplexed in the face of it all.

“Pain is there for a reason.”

Pain indicates that something is wrong in the body. Ashlyn’s parents live in fear that she will develop infections with no outward symptoms. Such illnesses could progress rapidly to the point of being deadly. Pain in our lives lets us know that something is going on that’s not quite right and needs attention, needs to be fixed.

Pain helps a person avoid unhealthy behaviors. When her baby teeth came in Ashlyn chewed her lips, tongue, and fingers until they were cut and bleeding. Her teachers have to put ice in Ashlyn’s chili at lunchtime – otherwise she will gulp down scalding hot food. Sometimes we have to experience pain in life to learn that some behaviors are hurtful and dangerous.

Pain helps the body heal. When the brain senses pain, it triggers the release of healing agents that rush to the injured area and begin the body’s natural healing process. Ashlyn’s childhood bumps, scrapes, and bruises sometimes take months to heal. With the realization of pain in life should come the understanding that healing also comes.

Pain causes a hurting person to seek help. An injured child will run crying to mom or dad. Ashlyn “is not phased by” pain, according to Tara. When she was 3 years old, Ashlyn severely burned her hand on a pressure washer. Tara found her staring impassively at her blistered palm, oblivious to the hurt. The pain of life should drive us back to the Father for help, comfort, and healing.

Ashlyn’s mom worries about not being able to explain CIPA to her daughter in a way she can understand. “There’s only so much you can tell her – If she sees blood, she knows to stop.”

That’s good news for all of us. The blood – shed by Jesus Christ as he suffered pain and injury for us – reminds us that God’s care and comfort are available for all who suffer from the pain of sinful lives. And the blood holds the promise of a life in glory, where there will be no more pain.

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