I was just told by a doctor friend that medical professionals in the 1990’s held to a doctrine of “no pain.” Patients were prescribed pain killers of whatever power was needed to keep their pain at a minimum, even narcotics. The general wisdom of the day was that narcotics, when administered by a medical professional, were not addictive. But they are, and in trying to keep patients pain-free during the 90’s now we have a whole generation of people addicted to prescription pain medication. The number of deaths due to overdose of prescription pain medication have just passed up the number of automobile-related deaths in this country. In his terms, we have created a monster.
Yes, I know that pain past a certain threshold debilitates rather than enhances healing, but the sticky wicket is where to locate that threshold. Common wisdom says the person themselves knows what that threshold is, and that certainly has some truth in it. However, as any athletics coach will tell you, most people underestimate their own ability to deal with pain. Someone from outside of them has to push their growing edge, shouting, “No pain, no gain!”
In my faith, the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ does that. Yes, Jesus died to do something I could not do for myself, but I think the operative level of that event in my life now is to prod and push me to die to sin that I might live to the Spirit of God. Such deaths are always painful to the ego, for they strip the ego of all the power-grabs it has done in one’s life. The door frame on the narrow gate to heaven is not large enough to allow anything but the proper role of my ego through, that of self-preservation and self-maintenance. All else hangs up on the lintel and posts. Passage through to abundant life will cost me.
The divine coach whispers in our ear (tenderly and lovingly, of course,) “Dear one, no pain, no gain!”