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The Paradox of Pain

I have faced the rude shock of the unexpected as a young Christian man. I have experienced failure despite diligent studies and preparation, disappointment despite the exercise of unwavering faith, and mental health crises that led to confusion and doubts. I have even gotten to the verge of disillusionment and had attempted suicide or at the least wished I wouldn’t wake up after sleeping every night.

The pains I had experienced in my young life seemed at those times meaningless and without any useful end in view. Motivations were low, my drive gone, hope foggy, and not even the spiritual made sense or offered any consolation to me at the time. I questioned God, got disappointed in him, and even began to deny his reality and essence.

Until by some miraculous intervention or sort of an awakening, I began to heal from the effects of the pain. Somehow, I began to experience a kind of rebirth like a phoenix. There was an emergence from the furnace of pain a golden quality of spirit and soul. I was beginning to understand the deep realities of life, gained unusual empathy for sufferers of different pain, pursued more interventions in alleviating the pains of my neighbours, and hit certain peaks of authentic pleasure that could only have come as compensation from going through painful experiences and processes.

Pain is not an end to be celebrated or praised. It is a tool for reaching the praise-worthy end. As a matter of fact, ultimate pleasure comes through the corridors of pain. Painful processes. The gold reaches sublime quality and price only after the pain of the refining fire. It means that the best reflections of and from our lives come forth after the experience of some pruning, shaping, and crushing that comes through painful experiences.

Facts about Pain.

  1. Pain is indicative of the presence of life: The first response of a newborn to life in this world is a response to pain. The sharp contrast of the small uterus where it has been emersed in amniotic fluid to the vast world of real life produces pain. The baby’s reaction to the pain by the vagitus (Do you know that’s the name of the first cry of a newborn?) only serves to indicate it’s a living child.

In a sense, to know pain and to feel pain is proof of life. Pain, therefore, is a common denominator of living beings. I once saw a documentary of a young girl who does not feel pain. The nerve and cells responsible for pain sensations were dead. This girl could cut herself with sharp tools and will be bleeding and would not cry or feel anything. She even eats her tongue. Such an absence of the feeling of pain is a deadly thing.

So, you should know that to feel and know pain is evidence of life, for the dead can no longer feel pain.

  1. Pain is universal: The experience of pain is universal to all and for all times. Civilization, religion, education, development, and enlightenment cannot eliminate pain absolutely. It is part of life’s core curriculum. The Spartans were known to train one of the best and most resilient men through very intense painful schemes. From time immemorial, men have engaged pain to their advantage from an understanding of its universality.

To think that there is a place or a time when Pain will be absent or eliminated is a pipe dream. In this world of ours, we will live and experience pain at different junctions and at all places. Even though the intensity and dimension of pain can be alleviated, it cannot be completely eradicated. It will come in other forms.

  1. Pain is relative: So, each person’s pain is somewhat distinct in its type, effect, degree, and duration. Our experience of pain is subject to many factors. The young child experiences a type of pain that is distinct from the adult. The poor from the rich, the wise from the ignorant, the learned from the illiterate, the religious from the non-religious, the elites from the commoners, etc. This doesn’t make it any less painful.
  2. Pain is unavoidable: At some point eventually, each person will pass through his own regime and season of pain. Either necessary pain or unpleasant one. No matter the systems in place or the improvements in life’s condition, pain is unavoidable. A passage in the Book of Isaiah says When you pass through the fire… not if.

This fact of pain will help you to be mentally ready and equipped to handle the seasons of pain when it comes.

  1. Pain is essential: Pain is not altogether without its usefulness. No true beauty and essence of a thing is revealed without some painful dealings. The pregnant woman must go through essential pain to birth her child. Birthing processes call for essential pains.
  2. Pain is uncomfortable: This is an obvious fact of pain. It stings, disturbs, and affects us significantly. Pain is uncomfortable because we are mortals. I do think that immortals can perceive pain as well, though we do not know to what degree and mode that would be.
  3. Pain is not the ultimate of life – Pleasure is: Pain shouldn’t be glorified beyond normal. It is not the ultimate in life. In fact, this is the beauty of the Christian’s hope. That there will be ultimate pleasure and bliss, either in the here and now eventually, or in the hereafter. Every trial and every pain will be abundantly compensated for.

We are told that the trials of these present times are not to be compared with the glory that will be revealed to us. It is the basis of Christian HOPE. We do not sorrow hopelessly because we know the pain will produce eternal joy.

Possible Attainments through Pain.

  1. Pain can produce a fineness of personhood: There are unique character traits in a person who has gone through the furnace of pain graciously. The pain, not being able to break and destroy him only reveals his true beauty. Someone said, true gold fears no fire. Men with golden qualities and personhood are properly refined through pain.
  2. Pain can press out the juice of creativity from the soul: History is littered with stories of geniuses and greats that scaled unbelievable hurdles and pain to produce classics and legendary works. Fanny Crosby, one of the great hymn-writer was blind, Steve Wonder, Ray Charles, Andrea Bocelli, and many others had painful limitations, but were able to overcome them and extract the creative juices in their souls despite their pain.
  3. Pain can build a strong threshold of resilience from the human spirit: The human spirit has fought beasts and nature to survive the harsh territory of his world. Pain has made men dare the impossible. Venture to unchartered territory. Survived the ferocity of natural disasters.
  4. Pain can impart empathy and sympathy: When you see a truly empathetic life who is prone to timely interventions, most likely, he has passed through pain. He or she has a deeper comprehension of the matter and condition of the other than many others do.
  5. Pain can teach you deep life wisdom and lessons that are eternal in scope: The hidden wisdom of life is excavated and unveiled after seasons of painful trials. We learn from the crucible of sufferings and travails deep truths that are enduring and eternal. That is because our perspectives are adjusted correctly, our capacity for comprehension is enlarged and our minds are aligned to pick up lessons that are buried under the soil of life’s challenges.
  6. Pain can force you to build survival mechanisms and systems: Most of the improvements in living conditions of today’s world are the offshoots of survival mechanisms against and over pain. The harsh realities of nature and our natural environments have caused systems and structures to be developed that have the capacity to withstand such realities. Man is a dogged fighter whose spirit doesn’t just cave into pain. As a result, he employs the tools and resources at his disposal to wade off the confrontations of painful circumstances.
  7. Pain can reveal the deficiencies and limitations of man: Without pain, we are likely to remain in a comfort zone that makes us assume we are almighty. We would overestimate our strengths and underestimate our limitations. So, pain can reveal our inherent deficiencies which help us to fortify our defences and build upon what we already have.

Attitude, disposition, and response towards pain.

  1. Remember that facts of pain
  2. Maintain a positive interior calm
  3. Do not despair
  4. Never lose HOPE
  5. Do not go into isolation mode
  6. Share the burden of pain with a few trusted folks.
  7. Ask for GRACE: This is the Christian message. Grace is God’s gift to a man that acts as leverage and absorber to withstand the intensity of pain and to bask in divine strength during pain. It also helps you to keep strong despite and rejoiceful during your pain. To sing in a trial, to worship in a crisis, to believe against all odds, to hope against hope, is only possible BY GRACE. YEA, GOD’S GRACE

The Christian’s perspective on pain

We do not deny the fact of pain, in fact, a thoroughbred Christian knows quite a lot about pain. He passes through pain, however, with an understanding that he does not walk alone. There is an internal support system by the Spirit of God and of his grace.

He knows that the present pains in all their forms will WORK OUT ULTIMATE GOOD for him. He has HOPE as an anchor that keeps his soul during the storms, and he keeps his FAITH in the Goodness of his God who works out within his heart by his Holy Spirit LOVE and peace even during the storm.

He knows that no pain is wasted. All will contribute to the forging of an eternal character wherein he is being conformed to the image of the God-man – CHRIST JESUS, THE LORD.


Written by Emmanuel Efeonah, Teacher, Writer, and Youth Coach.


Sophian is an alternate attribute for any member of The Sophia Club or any member of the public who shares worldviews and ideas with The Sophians.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Emmanuel Okeoghene Efeonah

    Thanks, Victor for the upload. I hope this knowledge alleviates the burdens and miseries of many going through severe painful experiences.

  2. Victor Negro

    You are welcome, brother. Yes, I share that hope with you too.

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