Making Peace with Pain Part 1 Image

Making Peace with Pain, Part 1

Most of us want to solve “the problem of pain” as well as avoid passing it on. It takes courage to say, “It stops with me.”


What is God’s purpose for pain? It will help to use “stress” in place of pain. Which stressors are helpful? Which are harmful?


The Johnson & Johnson Human Performance Institute has researched stress.[1]  Rather than the binary “Eustress” (good stress) or “Distress” (bad stress) they use 3 categories:

1. Normal stress: regular, expected, routine

2. Training stress: intentional deviation from normal stress through moderate, planned challenges to fuel growth and build a higher capacity

3. Excessive stress: unintentional deviation from normal stress. Untreated, it can result in serious conditions: anxiety, insomnia, muscle pain, high blood pressure, and weakened immune systems


There are, however, critical assumptions here. We need good nutrition to build our strength prior to the stressors. Training when we have not eaten for several days or are chronically malnourished will not build anything!


Good nutrition is not only physical. Healthy attachment, love, and care develop and water our “roots” so we can benefit from normal and training stress. When we do not get this from our family of origin or are subjected to intense stressors too soon or when hurting, we need to receive the love of Christ into these deep places. When God’s people provide this through nurturing fellowship, it is magnificent.


We also need a source of energy. For trees it is sunlight. For us it is our identity in Christ. Then, we can absorb the “food” that feeds our souls.


A tree must begin developing the first layer of resilience before the Big Winds come, else it blows away immediately. But a tree may survive a hurricane only to blow down in the next storm if it does not heal from that first trauma. Long term resilience is an ongoing process of suffering, receiving love, and deeply healing from deep wounds. Our Capital-R Resilience is the by-product of that cycle, neither its starting point nor its end goal.


Suffering does not beget resilience. Love begets strength, which when tested is forged into resilience. But it is not the blast of the wind that deepens roots and thickens bark; it is the proximity of water, the richness of the soil, the radiance of the sun, and the purity of the air. These are the sources of resilience.


And if the trauma hits unexpectedly, uprooting you: you are not a bad tree, you are not a weak tree, you are a hungry tree.[2]


We encourage you to look at your nutritional status if you are suffering. Start there. Heal.


Paul summarizes:

There’s more to come: We continue to shout our praise even when we’re hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next.  In alert expectancy such as this, we’re never left feeling shortchanged.  Quite the contrary – we can’t round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit!  (Rom. 5:3-5 MSG)



[1] Retrieved 15 July 2020


[2] © 2020 Ria Wooten, unpublished work

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