Pain Means Comfort is on the Way

Whenever I make this statement, ‘Pain means comfort is on the way,’ I see a look on people’s faces that seems to be saying, “You’ve gotta be kidding.”  Comfort during pain doesn’t seem to be the norm in most of our lives and I have yet to say it to anyone who already understood it.  I learned this truth several years ago from Dr. Jim Wilder and it greatly changed how I view pain and comfort. (For more on this topic see Joy-Filled Relationships.)

When I first heard this statement, I was going through deep emotional pain and was depressed to the point of barely functioning.  I didn’t understand how to look at and deal with my pain from some old traumas that were too big to bear alone. Dr. Wilder kept telling me that I needed comfort and without it, my future would continue to look quite hopeless.  Most of my adult life I had gone to Jesus with my pain but this time I needed “Jesus with skin on.” Dr. Wilder gave me great comfort over the phone, but he lived 3,000 miles away. Eventually I received some comfort, began to heal, and learned a better way to deal with my own pain and that of others around me.

Most people’s view of pain is to avoid it at all costs.  I believe that’s because so many people were not comforted in their pain as a child and learned somewhere along the way to turn away from the one causing the pain, and/or to run from all pain.  When a parent knows how to comfort and return to joy, the child will be less likely to run away from hurt.  (I am talking about ‘everyday’ hurts, not abuse, though many abused children go back to abusive parents, hoping things will change.)

Last week I was reading in 2 Corinthians 1 and the Lord reminded about those years when my view of pain changed.  Verses 3-6 say this, “ Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort; who comforts us in all our affliction so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.  For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ.  But if we are afflicted it is for your comfort and salvation, or if we are comforted, it is for your comfort. . .” (Emphasis mine.)

These verses talk about our comfort coming from God and I firmly believe He can comfort us all by Himself, but here I want to talk about how we can help comfort each other as we  better understand pain and comfort.  Going through our own pain and coming out on the other side comforted is not just so that we can get healing, but also to eventually lead us in comforting others.  Let’s look at some specific “jewels” that I learned from Dr. Wilder about pain and comfort.  They are taken from my book, Kindle edition, Jewels for My Journey. (For print edition click here.)

The most important thing that changed for me about pain and comfort was that “no one has to fix anyone’s pain; we just need to sit with them in it.  It cannot be fixed, only healed.”  Wow! What a relief this was!  I didn’t have to fix everything?  I could just sit quietly for a while with someone without carrying the responsibility for fixing them? That was so freeing. I didn’t have to hurry and give truth or instructions to make them feel better.

But to some this can sound very difficult rather than freeing. Perhaps one reason that many of us don’t do it is because we feel so uncomfortable with someone’s pain that we want to try to fix it to relieve our own discomfort. Being with them is really about us.  Men especially tend to be fixers instead of just sitting with the other person in their pain, but many women lean that way also.  I think if more people were able to just sit with someone in their pain, then maybe people would feel freer to feel their pain and not turn to addictions to medicate it.

Sitting with someone does not mean that we don’t talk at all. Voice tone and comforting words are part of what helps. After the pain is relieved some, then truth or instructions can be heard better.

“Hurting with someone shows their great value. Share pain. When we share pain, and they don’t have to suffer alone, it is a sign of their great value.  This teaches them they don’t have to fear pain.” If parents can validate their children’s pain, and through that teach them their value, then the children won’t grow up fearing and avoiding pain–a deterent to addictions. If spouses and friends share each others’ pain, love will replace the fear of feeling or being with pain.

“When someone is in pain, we want to communicate that we are glad to be with them even while they are in pain. Pain is the single largest reason we do not mature. When the community does not provide what we need, we hurt–and fear pain.  When we fear hurting, we stop maturing.”

“Giving safe and timely affection is a way to comfort that meets many needs at once.   It says, ‘You are worth keeping safe.’”

“When you hurt with someone else in their pain, even though you don’t enjoy it, eventually it will help you validate your own pain, that it really did hurt and you needed someone to hurt with you.  This will bring healing to you as well.”

Through the years as I have practiced showing others their value by validating their pain and comforting them just by being glad to be with them in their pain, I have seen miracles happen.  For the first time they get a glimpse of their value just from someone sitting there with them, and communicating that it’s okay to hurt. When we experience comfort, either from God or Jesus with skin on, we learn that we are valuable and that pain does not have to be feared, which makes it easier to ask for comfort the next time. Now we understand how pain can mean comfort is on the way–and that takes the sting out of it. Then as we heal and grow, we will pass along to others the “comfort with which we have been comforted.”

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About Barbara Moon

I am an ordinary person who walks with an extraordinary God. I love to share what He has done in my life. I love to help parents with their kid questions. I love to teach little ones to swim. I love to study and learn new things and for the last ten years I have been focusing on how the brain works in connection with joyful relationships, how that affects development, maturity and trauma recovery. When not writing, my days are full of family, (especially grandchildren), mentoring, counseling, sewing, and reading.
This entry was posted in Current joyful musings, Relationships. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Pain Means Comfort is on the Way

  1. julimay says:

    Love Love Love this!!! I never get tired of learning this. Thanks for sharing.

  2. dhsellmann says:

    I can remember the first time I experienced you being glad to sit with me through my pain. I was a mess — tears everywhere, barely able to speak a coherent thought, feelings all over the place, and yet you sat with me. What a powerful statement that made of me being worth the trouble! And then, your strength added to my weakness, gave me courage to ride it out until I could hear Jesus speaking to my heart. Normally, when I tried to handle my pain by myself, I might weather the storm, but I was beat up afterwards and still stuck emotionally. Having you there helped me push through to a place where I could hear God’s word’s and experience His healing. I was emotionally drained afterward, but at peace. Thank you for modeling “Jesus with skin on” for me.

    • Barbara Moon says:

      Oh, how I love sitting with you and watching you grow all these years. And you have often returned the favor. Thank you for the honor. The devotional is cooking in my head after reading this very blog again. Love, B

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