Pain distorts your perspective

Pain distorts your perspective

Have you ever slammed your finger in a door? If you have, just reading that last sentence might have made you flinch. The pain is immediate and terrible. You would likely scream for help. At the time, it dominated your thinking. You were unable to remember whatever it was you were thinking about before, and any thought of what to do next has disappeared. All you feel is pain, and all you want is for it to go away.

Yet, after a relatively short time, that pain subsides. You remain aware of your finger for some time, but unless you did some serious damage, pretty soon you forget all about it. That pain that seemed so immeasurably awful has faded into the past.

Pain has a way of distorting our perspective on life. Not all pain and suffering is short-lived; there are some who live with physical pain every day of their lives. Others have lives dominated by poverty or relationship problems or mental health issues. When we are undergoing hard times, just like when we slam our finger in a door, our thinking is dominated by our struggles. We can become very self-centred and very focussed on the now.

The apostle Peter wrote his first letter to Christians who were starting to struggle. They were being excluded by society. They were starting to feel some persecution from their governments. Life was difficult for them. Yet right near the beginning of his letter he tells them that they can rejoice despite these trials. He gives lots of reasons for this, but one of them is that their suffering is “for a little while” (1 Peter 1:6).

Peter repeats that phrase “a little while” at the end of his letter in 1 Peter 5:10 when he describes the time when Jesus will come back to fix everything. Of course, he didn’t know this little while might be thousands of years!

In comparison to our eternal glorious future with Jesus, our sufferings are indeed like a little while. That does sound odd when we think of those with long-term illnesses and pain, but it is true. One day, all our pain and suffering will fade into the past like the pain from a finger slammed in a door. One day, our Lord will call us home, or He will return Himself, and our current pain which seems so dominating will be in the past.

Remember that next time you cannot think of anything but your pain. It feels overwhelming, but there is something worth far more. If you trust in Jesus as your Saviour and Lord, even the worst pain now will end one day. Maybe in this life, by God’s grace, but most certainly in the next. It is indeed possible to rejoice in pain if you get things in the right perspective. Come, Lord Jesus.