Recently I heard a story of a little girl who has a rare medical condition that inhibits her from feeling physical pain (CIPA). On the surface, this appears to be a blessing. Think about it. Imagine a life where you feel no pain. No more headaches or sore muscles. Sounds great! Where do I sign up?
Not so fast. While you are imagining a pain free life, lets go a little deeper. Imagine putting your hand on a hot stove. You don’t feel pain but that does not stop you from being injured. Maybe you step on a piece of glass causing a deep cut on your foot. The only way you know it’s cut is from the trail of blood because you don’t sense pain. You can’t feel the pain of internal injuries either.
We realize that our sense of pain is vital to our survival. Pain lets us know about injury, sickness and infection. When I get in the shower in the morning, its my sense of pain that tells me the water is too hot when I run my hand under it. When I eat a hot cup of soup, it is my sense of pain that keeps me from scalding my mouth.
What is pain?
Websters defines physical pain; as localized physical suffering associated with bodily disorder (as a disease or an injury); also : a basic bodily sensation induced by a noxious stimulus, received by naked nerve endings, characterized by physical discomfort (as pricking, throbbing, or aching), and typically leading to evasive action.
What is the purpose of pain?
Pain alerts us to the fact that something is wrong and we need to do something about it. Pain is a tool. If you don’t feel the pain of hunger or thirst, you won’t eat or drink.
Back to the story of the little girl
After hearing her story, I researched CIPA. I found several stories of children who suffer from the lack of pain. Imagine being the parent of a child who has CIPA. Your child leads a life-threatening existence. Even when they sleep, they are in danger. As a parent, you live in a constant state of anxiety and fear.
A mother’s prayer
One story I came across broke my heart. A mother of a pain-free little girl kneels in prayer everyday and asks God to give her little girl pain. I spend my time praying that God removes pain from my life and the lives of those I love. Meanwhile this mom pleads with tears that God brings pain into the life of her little girl. Maybe it’s time we change the way we see pain.
Does this change the way you think about pain? Or have you ever been thankful for pain?