Learning From Pain

Published 3:34 pm Friday, November 18, 2016

Dreams of reaching high and lofty goals in life have never appealed to me—just the plain and simple have served me well.  But there have been a couple of things that tugged at me and made me want to pursue them.  One of those was woodworking.  I always found it most interesting how people could take plain wood, and with the proper knowledge, they could turn it into something of value.  I saw no reason why I couldn’t teach myself the necessary skills to become a recognized woodworker.

Then there was the dream from very early in my life to become a guitar player. I greatly admired Johnny Cash, so I took measures to help my dream become a reality.  I bought a guitar, took some lessons, learned a few chords, and started to put my new talent to work.  As time went on I came to the conclusion that my listening audience was not enjoying the benefit of my labor nearly as much as I was enjoying sharing it with them.  I finally wised up and gave up on playing my guitar in public.  That beautiful Yamaha guitar that I bought forty years ago is now sitting quietly in a corner collecting dust.

I revisited my desire to do woodworking recently.  I bought the materials needed to construct a work cabinet for my shed.  It did not take long for it to become evident that I had obligated myself to a money pit.  When it was all completed I had put enough money into my project to purchase one ready-made. Nevertheless, although it is far from being a masterpiece, it turned out alright.

Email newsletter signup

As I worked on constructing my work bench, I found it to be a learning experience.  Not only did I learn a few things about fashioning wood into something usable, I learned something about pain, too!

While attempting to drive a screw into place with a drill, the screw suddenly shifted causing the sharp tip to puncture the side of my thumb.  I take a low dose aspirin daily to help minimize the risk of suffering a stroke.  So with my blood thinned just a bit, very soon my injured thumb was dripping blood on me and on the floor.  Even though the pain was unpleasant, I learned a valuable lesson about keeping my hands out of the way of power tools.

Pain is uncomfortable.  We try to avoid it for good reason, and sometimes we take medications to minimize pain’s effects.  Yet pain serves some good and effective purposes.  In the case of the encounter with the drill, at very least I learned the value of being more careful (although it is amazing how quickly we seem to forget the lessons we learned the hard way!).

During the painful happenings of life we have rich opportunity to allow God to teach us some lasting lessons that we might not grasp if life had no hardships.  Paul grasped this important spiritual concept as he penned the words of 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18:  “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (New International Version).

As you celebrate Thanksgiving in whatever way you choose, remember to give thanks to God for all His abundant blessings that you have received.  And ask God to make you more aware of His blessings that are sometimes hidden in the valley of pain and adversity.