Finding Meaning beyond Our Pain

May 8, 2010

Pain is bad, right?  Not always, according to Dr. David Henderson!  We should do everything we can to eliminate pain from our lives, right?  Not always, according to Dr.  H., who is an MD, a psychiatrist, trained in a profession that provides pain relief in pill (or drug) form.

At our CAPS meeting (Christian Association for Psychological Studies) in Dallas on April 30, 2010, Dr. Henderson told us that  pain is inevitable and can serve (1) to test our faith, (2) to chastise us, (3) to draw us close to Jesus experientially, (4) to learn how to comfort others and (5) to know the longing for something more (i.e. hope).  This is not just spiritual platitude.  Nor is it pie in the sky mental trickery.  This is deep, mature,  and meaty Christianity.

Our misplaced focus will make pain more painful and unfruitful.  When we focus on the corruptible (rather than the incorruptible), on the visible (rather than the invisible) and on the pain itself (rather than the purpose) we lock in misery.  Reverse the focus, and we can actually find pain a useful guide to higher living.

His book provides biblical truths and practical helps to guide you through life’s seven universal struggles: (1) injustice, (2) rejection, (3) loneliness, (4) loss, (5) discipline, (6) failure, and (7) death.  Wouldn’t it be  encouraging to learn how to stay on top of all those obstacles?!  Give some thought to how you experience pain and let me know if your focus and attitude toward it has contributed to your personal growth in some way.

And can you believe it, we all had a very enjoyable time together (nothing morose about this crowd of counselors) as you can see on the 4-minute video below: