“The pain you feel, and will continue to feel, is a sign of life and love…” ~ Philip Yancey
Mr. Yancey said those words in a sermon back in 2007. He recounted his experience after he broke his neck in a car accident. His doctors kept probing, moving his limbs and asking, “Does this hurt? Do you feel that?” They were waiting for him to say, “Yes. It hurts. I can feel it.” The pain gave proof that his spinal cord had not been severed. What he said next struck a chord in me:
“Pain offered proof of life, of connection—a sign that my body remained whole.”
These words came at a time when I questioned God’s plan and purposes, because a month before Mr. Yancey gave this sermon, my Mom Pearl died (she was only 59). I was also adjusting to life as a new mother, and so I missed my own Mom terribly. While I appreciated (and depended on!) the wonderful support of my husband, and I was sure there would be books and other wonderful women to help me learn how to take care of my newborn, somehow I felt cheated that my own Mom wouldn’t be around to teach me those things herself.
But it was also in that time of pain and uncertainty that I became aware of the constant presence of the Holy Spirit. “The Lord is near the brokenhearted; He saves those crushed in spirit” (Psalm 34:18). I learned to be bold in approaching God, rejoicing in His promise that, “The sacrifice pleasing to God is a broken spirit. God, You will not despise a broken and humbled heart” (Psalm 51:17).
When we acknowledge our true state of affairs before Him, how broken and needy we are of His connection and His presence in our lives, that’s when we become aware that even though we are in this world, we are not of it. The world today sees pain as a waste of time, and offers ways to relieve or remove pain quickly. But when we listen to our hearts, we will find that these jolts of pain remind us to reconnect with our Creator, Who designed us for something higher, stronger and eternal. He will not turn us away when we acknowledge we are broken, but will always welcome us into His presence, into much needed comfort and restoration.