The majority of human beings live with the possibility of never having to experience pain of almost any kind today, whether it be physical or mental, almost all traumas need to be experienced for only a short duration. The pharmaceutical industry, both legal and illegal, offer a wide variety of remedies for what ever may be ailing us, items to block physical pain, ones to keep us from being depressed, to those that prevent us from becoming anxious. There is a cure today for almost every pain imaginable.
There may be of course some adverse side effects, some of them quite severe, possibly causing more problems than the one they were intended to cure, but we are assured that the risks are low, the benefits high, and trust is instilled thru every commercial for them that we hear on a very regular basis. None of the illegal ones are advertised in the same fashion, but the promises are just the same, a cure for what ails you, an altered form of consciousness, an escape from a reality that you do not see as beneficial. All of these, and we can include alcoholic beverages, have one thing in common though, the relief is only temporary, unless physical modifications within the body or psycho analytical adjustments are made within the thought processes of the mind, the medicine, whether doctor or self-prescribed, must continue, and as time goes on usually at a higher dosage.
This isn’t a saved or lost problem, it is a world-wide human being problem, it is an epidemic, a ploy of Satan that has been in existence for a very long time, and one that is extremely profitable to all involved. Do not just envision here the drunk lying in the alley, the junkie weaving down the street, just look around in your church, they are there also, they have just learned to hide it better than some. Self-medication is of course the most popular, although doctor prescribed pathways are also quite normal today, in either case they are meant to procure one ideology, ease the suffering. An achy body or a mind that cannot, or will not cope, suffering comes in as many forms as the pills and medications that can cover it up.
I would like you to recall the account of our Lord’s last hours on earth, from the moment they arrived at the garden and He began to pray, to the moment that He gave up the ghost, it is difficult to express this properly, but if you think of that blessed time, there was only one moment of compassion shown to Him, when they offered Him vinegar to drink mixed with gall, pain medication. Whoever it was that offered it to Him knew that the crucifixion was going to hurt, badly, and they offered Him compassion. We know that our Lord was subject to the same temptations and fleshly desires that we are, (Heb. 4:15) we know that He could feel pain, (1 Peter 3:18) sorrow (Isaiah 53:3) and grief (John 11:35) and so we may presume that if He would have accepted the medicine meant to dull the pain that that is exactly what it would have done, modified the receptors in His brain so that He would not feel the full extent of the suffering of His flesh. So why not accept it, the better question might be, why do some of our brothers and sisters in Christ not do the same, why barter away temporary suffering with earthly medication.
I have just crossed a very fine line here, haven’t I, and many of you reading this letter may have just asked yourself a very serious question, “Have I been denying the blessings of suffering.” There are only two reasons for the types of drugs that we have been discussing here, to block pain to either the mind or body, or to produce an altered state of consciousness. You can say that they either pick me up or calm me down, they help me to feel better, they help me to forget, however you rationalize it, they are meant for only those two reasons, and both of these reasons fall under the heading of “I don’t want to suffer.” If we use this as a basis for our topic, then the statement would be true, our Lord wanted to feel the full effects of His suffering. He did not want even one part diminished. “His visage was so marred more than any man.” (Isa. 52:14) They ripped Him to shreds, nailed Him to a cross, and He was still alive almost six hours later. Any normal man would have bled out, passed out, begged for death or at least taken the offered pain medication, and we need a drink to calm our nerves, a hit off the pipe to calm us down or give us energy, anything to keep us from the possibility of suffering. He prayed, we pray, He loved, we love, He suffered, we run to the doctor, and that doctor is very rarely the great physician anymore.
I was a serious junkie for a number of years, even falling back into it several times after I was saved, I was a professional drunk. I have almost died eight or nine times, I know what pain medication is, and to this day I still consume around four-hundred aspirin a year to keep the pain at bay, all but the aspirin left my life many years ago, and sometimes I wonder if I should put them away. Suffering is a blessing from God, now you have to make up your mind if pain medication, in no matter what form it comes in is a blessing or a possibility to escape the suffering you are meant to go through. If you’re depressed, they make anti-depressants, but was the depression sent by God, if your anxious and nervous, unsure about yourself, in a season of doubt and fear, which doctor do you suppose you should run to first, and how much time are you willing to give the great physician to heal you? You have the ability to alter your mind in a million different ways today, some legally obtainable, some not, either way the effects will only be temporary, our Lord offers a different solution, go thru the suffering, hold firmly onto His hand as you walk in the pain, as you walk thru the valley of the shadow of death. (Psalm 23:4) His remedy is long term, eternal, and to the healing of your soul, there are no temporary fixes with Almighty God.
Suffering means pain, pain hurts, love heals the hurt. He will give you no time frame, only the promise that He will go thru the storm with you, He will suffer with you, the pain may remain for a very long time, but so will His hand. We grow in the valleys my friends, down where it hurts, but He will go thru the valley with you, He knows what pain is.