Calvary Episcopal Church
Memphis, Tennessee
February 6, 2000, The Fifth Sunday After the Epiphany
Volume 45, No.6

Blessed Pain! Blessed Healing!
Several years ago Time magazine began an article in its "Medicine" section this way: "Some babies never cry!" The article went on to cite the case study of young Beverly Smith who did not cry when she fell down; she did not cry when she bumped her head hard; she didn't even cry when she burned her hand on a hot stove. The article told the story of this little girl who is literally pain-free due to a genetic defect in her nervous system.

In a world such as ours, a world saturated with so much pain and suffering, little Beverly's defect might be considered a blessing. We might even find ourselves envious of her. If only life could be painless for us, for our loved ones, for the whole world. But Time concluded its report of this medical phenomenon with these prophetic words:

"Last week Beverly's mother received some important advice from the baby's physicians. She must watch and examine Beverly almost every waking minute: The baby might fall and break a bone and not know it; she could develop appendicitis and there would be no warning; training her to stay away from hot or sharp objects is a necessity; in all of these and other situations, she would not feel the pain. Life without pain for Beverly will be a perpetually dangerous life."

Life without pain – for Beverly, for you, for all humanity – is a perpetually dangerous life. Yes, in a deep and true sense, the pains of our life (physical and emotional and spiritual, etc.) are a blessing. They alert us that something is wrong, something is deeply amiss, something is in need of healing.

That commercial of several years ago for a pain-killer: "I don't have time for the pain." Well, it's wrong. Particularly when it comes to the pain in one's soul – or a relationship – or heart – and yes, in one's body. Pain is the blessed alert signal on our life's radar screen. It signals us to give this pain our utmost attention. Without the pain alert, life is dangerous. There can be no authentic healing.

O, blessed pain. O, blessed healing.
~ Doug Bailey

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