I think the most severe pain that I have ever felt in my life was when I fell into a camp fire landing on one hand and burning it severely. I was part of a group who took a bunch of High School kids camping. After we got camp all set up it started raining so we were attempting to hang a big tarp over the eating area. I was standing on a round of firewood tying one corner of the tarp to a tree and as I stretched to reach the rope the big hunk of wood tipped over and down I went into the fire. Someone drove me into the emergency room of the hospital in Astoria near where we were camping, and as I sat in the emergency room I remember the pain being overwhelming. I then remembered my Dad saying, “managing pain is disciplining yourself to think right while experiencing it”. So as I sat there in that emergency room waiting to be seen by a doctor I began to think about and try to imagine the pain Jesus felt on the cross. I remembered a sermon by Chuck Swindoll where he said that crucifixion was the most painful of all human experiences. I thought, I wonder why the death that He died for me, that redeemed me from an eternity in hell had to be so painful? I guess it was part of the price that the sins of people required in order to completely erase them.

As I continued to think, ponder, and wonder about Jesus and my redemption I noticed that my pain had become considerably less torturous as I mentally focused on something else. I thought to myself, “My brain can be my best friend or my worst enemy”, it is up to me to decide which it is by choosing what I think about. The pain I feel in my body now as a 70 year old man in my neck, back, hands, knees, hips, ankles, and head gets worse with each year of life as it does with most people over 60 years of age, and it is pretty much 24/7. Occasionally I let my thinking wander off to self-pity, but then I jerk it back to meditating on Bible verses and thanking God for my new body I am going to get soon that will be totally pain free. Life is full of pain, mental, emotional, and physical pain, it was designed by God to be that way, but heaven is totally pain free, I can’t wait!

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