Pain and Suffering
It is really odd that when you Google the word ‘pain’, the physical pain is what initially appears. According to Wikipedia, it is an unpleasant feeling often caused by intense or damaging stimuli. That is so true. Although that definition refers to physical pain [because it is followed by examples of stubbing a toe, getting cut with a knife, etc.], it is true of mental pain as well.
Wikipedia also suggests that, in order to get the meaning of pain other than physical pain, one should search under suffering. Suffering, it says, is an experience of unpleasantness and aversion associated with the perception of harm or threat of harm in an individual.
It goes on to explain that suffering can be physical or mental, vary in frequency, intensity and duration. It is also subject to the opinion of the person that is suffering, as well as other people. It is a process that may be considered avoidable or unavoidable, useful or useless, and deserved or undeserved. It actually seems to suggest that physical pain is validated (note that examples were given that would ‘understandably’ cause pain); but, mental pain (and/or suffering) is not.
A person that is suffering may go through moments of regret and reflection:
The word ‘pain’ makes one think of sudden intensity that will soon dissipate. Suffering seems more like a process that will continue for an indeterminate amount of time. In fact, suffering was described as an experience rather than a feeling.
The pain that I felt during labor was intense, to say the least. I felt like my body was being ripped apart by the contractions. It seemed like an eternity before I was able to get an epidural. I remember that it hurt really badly; but, I cannot remember how the pain felt. People would tell me that you will forget all about the pain after you see your baby. I could not believe them before it actually happened. If anyone asked me to describe what the pain of contractions felt like on the day AFTER I had the baby, I could not tell them. I cannot tell you now….and I have had four kids!! I cannot even describe the pain of an incision after a Caesarean section….and I have had two!! I remember that it hurt, but I don’t remember the pain.
The thing about mental suffering, is that you remember BOTH. You remember the pain, and the suffering. It can be decades later, but you will remember how you felt in that moment. Sometimes, you can actually feel the pain all over again:
So, what is the answer? As a Pastor’s wife, I am supposed to tell you:
Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you. (Phil 4: 8-9)
God loves you!!! He will give you Perfect Peace!!