Monday, December 21, 2015

The Gift Nobody Wants

“We cannot learn without pain.”  Aristotle

Imagine a life without pain.  At first thought it sounds like a wonderful gift that I would love to receive.  But consider Gabby Gingras.  At a few days old Gabby slept through the prick of a blood test.  And in the mornings, she would be in her crib, but freezing cold to the touch.  What her parents later discovered was that Gabby didn’t flinch at the pain of a needle or respond to being so cold because she couldn’t feel it.  Gabby suffers from an extremely rare disorder called congenital insensitivity to pain.  For unknown reasons, the connection between the nerves that sense pain and the brain’s recognition of pain is missing.  When Gabby started cutting teeth she would bite down through the skin and would have bit to the bone had her mother not intervened.  Gabby’s parents made the decision to have her teeth pulled because she was mutilating her fingers.  Learning to walk made Gabby more vulnerable.  At age 2, Gabby broke her jaw and didn’t know it until infection caused a fever.  Her eyes were especially at risk.  As an infant and toddler she would put her fingers in her eyes and feel no discomfort.  Her desperate parents tried restraints then goggles.  But by the time Gabby was 4, she needed to have her left eye removed.  Her right eye was also damaged, and she wears a lens over it to help her see better.  The Gingras family knows that Gabby’s challenges will last a lifetime.  “Pain teaches,” said her mother, Trish Gingras.  “Pain protects.  Pain can save you from a lot of bad things in life.”  (The Girl Who Can’t Feel Pain,

Several years ago I was embarking on a season of life that would prove to be the most painful section of my personal journey thus far.  It was not a season of physical pain.  The painful journey I was on brought deep and intense emotional and spiritual pain.  Over the course of this part of my life I desperately wanted everything in my life to be “normal” again.  I often felt lonely, discouraged and depressed. 

 I was in a pit of despair and I frequently cried out to God to get me through another day.

I am incredibly thankful and humbled to report that God delivered me out of that pit.  While I can say it was by my own doing that put me in the pit, I must clearly state it was the hand of God that pulled me out.  Those years of struggle have had a profound impact on who I am today.  The crucible of pain shaped and formed my current understanding of God’s mercy, forgiveness, restoration and love.  While I dare say that my relationship with God has grown deeper and richer as a result, I would not desire to go through such pain again.  How I wish I could learn such lessons about God and grow dramatically in character in a more comfortable and pain free environment!

During those years of struggle God blessed me for a short time with a relationship with a man who was as close to a mentor as I’ve ever had.  Terry knew pain and struggle in his own life as well and spoke from experience.  In the midst of my dark journey Terry would often remind me, “In God’s economy nothing is wasted.”  I came to understand that pain, when given to God, can be used to forge something beautiful.

In a season of gift giving I am reminded that pain is really a gift no one wants, but one we really can’t do without.

~ Kevin Baker

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