Pain – a gift? Forget it!

STRENGTH FOR TODAY - Dr. Harold J. Sala (The Philippine Star) - March 3, 2019 - 12:00am

Yet if I speak, my pain is not relieved; and if I refrain, it does not go away. – Job 16:6

If I held in my hands the power to eliminate physical pain from the world,” said Dr. Paul Brand, “I would not exercise it.”

Who was Dr. Paul Brand, and why did he say this? The short answer is he was one of the 20th century’s top researchers into what pain is all about. His fascination with the whole subject was the result of working with leprosy patients in India. Those with the disease lose all sensation and feel no pain.

While leprosy is rarely fatal in itself, the horrible effects of the disease produce disfigurement and often the loss of limbs, but even worse, there has been a centuries-old social stigma attached to the disease separating those with the affliction from their loved ones or neighbors.

In Old Testament days, the person afflicted with leprosy had to leave the city and live outside in a hovel with other lepers, crying out, “Unclean, unclean,” when anyone approached him. Eventually Dr. Brand came to the conclusion that pain is actually a great benefactor to humankind, a gift from God, not a curse, which allows us to know what needs to be done when we hurt.

Our culture today, however, has little tolerance for pain. Constantly we are bombarded with the message that better living comes through pharmaceuticals. Get rid of your pain and discomfort by every possible means.

Dr. Brand believed one of the failures of life today is failing to listen to our pain, striving to understand why we hurt, what we have done, which could have eliminated the whole thing. I’ll tell you one thing for sure: The next time I am tempted to play Hercules and lift a heavy box without help, I’ll think twice, and quickly. I’ve heard the voice of pain, and while I still am not convinced it’s my friend, I’m learning fast.

Used with permission from Guidelines International Ministries. To learn more about Guidelines and the ministry, send an e-mail to You may also visit

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