Friday, March 27, 2009

THE Great Pain-Reliever: God can be a Lot Like Opium

I recently watched quite an insightful film called Children of the Silk Road (2008), inspired by the true story of 1937-1944 China, post-Nanking Massacre, where Englishman George Hogg is credited with saving the lives of sixty Chinese orphan boys. The war-torn setting for the movie and the endless carnage introduces the viewer to pain-relief methods of the day; both morphine and opium.

At one point in the movie, opium therapy is lauded because it works in a way that “the pain is still there, but it doesn’t hurt anymore.” As I reflected in that moment, I discovered that there’s a lot of God in that statement, and what he does with the things that ail us.

The truth of the matter relating to life hurts i.e. the death of a loved one, the end of your marriage, tragic endings in total, is we never entirely scrub away the pain, but the hurt can be dealt with.

And this is my personal experience. I found attending a funeral today of someone who was once quite dear, freshened up some old wounds, bristling the follicles of my usual stoic exterior.

The experience reminded me that I am now dead to this part of my past, and whilst flashbacks of the past were on raw display, the hurt was somehow radically diminished. It was reconciled. The factual pain remains, but it’s not an unpleasant place to be. It just is. In fact, I’d go as far as saying this pain is a friendly life-giving pain; God converts it from negative to positive, somehow.

It is quite incorrect I think to claim that God can entirely heal us of life hurts, like, as if they never happened. God, of all, knows how insensitive it would be to anesthetise us from our pains--for pain has important purposes; it helps us feel and empathise; it provides a pathway to our heritage; and, it softens us for service.

I think it’s more accurate to say that God will allow us to retain the acute primary pain of the things that have shaped us, but he heals the hurt, making it not only possible for us to move on, but he makes it probable that we will use the residual (hurt-free) reconciled pain to assist others.

This is the effect of true healing, invariably; we want to use the experience to help others coming after us.

God always has a plan to use our pains and hurts. Once he has healed us of the hurt of the pain we can then be of use to him and others.

Copyright © 2009, S. J. Wickham. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.

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