What if there wasn't any pain in this world? What if humans, animals and birds didn't have the ability to feel pain? At the surface, we might think that it would be wonderful to live a totally pain-free life. But is it so?
Few years ago, I read a book called "Gift of Pain", written by Dr. Paul Brand, who was a medical doctor and a missionary to India and worked amongst people suffered from leprosy. Leprosy starts with the symptom of losing one's ability to feel the sense of touch and a corresponding inability to feel pain and temperature.
What happens if you lose the ability to feel pain? You will injure yourself badly. You will get disfigured by self-amputation. The damaged bodies of lepers are mostly a result of self-inflicted injuries (i.e stepping on nails, touching something too hot). As part of the treatment, Dr. Brand offered custom-built footwear for the patients to wear all the time, so that they won't self-inflict injuries.
Though the book starts with the premise of bodily pain, it goes beyond that into emotional pain and spiritual truths as well. It is the first time my perspective shifted to see pain from a different angle - pain as a gift. I agree, no one likes pain, yet if you think, isn't pain a gift?
What if we didn't feel any pain when relationships are broken? What if we have a numbing insensitivity towards death, rejection, unforgiveness, hatred and ridicule? Would we ever appreciate life, acceptance, forgiveness, love and peace?
I think pain is essential. Life, with all its challenges is a gift. Without pain, I think, we wouldn't even know we have a valuable, beautiful life. Can you imagine living in a pain-free, fallen world? We would easily endanger ourselves. In a world filled with a million ways of instant-gratifications and easy methods of escapism from sufferings by depending so much on pain killers and mind-numbing chemicals to alter our thinking, have we ever thought that there might be a purpose for the existence of pain? And there might be a solution beyond the mere painlessness?