Disclaimer: These are thoughts and truths based on my own small experience. Pain is very personal and I can only comment on mine. The Truth of the love of Jesus is not just for me, and can be received by trusting in Him.
On Monday I had surgery to remove a mucocel from the left side of my bottom lip. I wonder a bit if it was really necessary, but that's a rant for another day. The surgery was quick and I don't remember a thing. What I ended up with was a puffy face and massive sutures (stitches) digging into my gums. I managed the pain with ibuprofen until Wednesday when I forgot to bring it to work. I begged some off of a co-worker who was more than willing to help. When time came for the next dose, I was reluctant to ask for more. I really don't know why. I think I was being stubborn. So, of course, I was in pain.
It wasn't severe pain, but pain is pain. The nurse asked me to rate my pain after the surgery and I was flummoxed. I gave her a three, because I could imagine being in greater pain. A pain scale between 1 and 10...is it linear? Is it logarithmic? Is it based on previous pain? But how can remembered pain compare to current pain? So far, I think my pain scale goes like this:
A) I'm fine.
B) It hurts
C) This is the worst pain of my life!
So Wednesday it hurt and I wasn't going to do anything about it. Then I started to suffer--I just wanted to put my head down on my desk and I didn't think I could finish my work. But then a light switched on and I thought "Dude, (its always Dude in my head. I blame tv.) this is my fault so I better quit being a wimp and learn something from the pain" So I asked God for grace and the guiding of my thoughts, and as I puttered around work this is what I learned:
I sometimes say to myself that pain only has the effect on me that I let it have. This is really just a mind game and only works temporarily
My pain always comes with riders. In my opinion these are the aspects that contribute most to the suffering. One of them is fear: Is something wrong? Is it infected? Am I going to have a hole in my cheek? The answer to that is God's love. Nothing can separate me from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus! His plan is to give me a future and a hope and in every situation He holds me Safe. Mmm...peace.
Another is self-focused FEELINGS. Its in caps because its hard to see or feel anything else though them. For me, the basis for these feelings is the idea that my needs are not being met, nobody understands, there's no end in sight, ow, ow ow. The answer to this is God's love too! No one cares for me as much as He does. He holds me, and provides for me, and speaks Love to me.
Peace during pain lifts most of the suffering. And its available every time I turn to Him... as I discovered Thursday, Friday, and today. Gratitude during pain is really nice too:-)