Pain Management for the End Times

thermometer-833085_640Humans resist pain.

Why wouldn’t we? That’s only logical, right?

God programmed pain into our design as a sort of alarm system. Pain signals to us that we’ve done something wrong, encountered something bad, or have engaged with something that we should avoid in the future. God designed pain to be unpleasant so that we wouldn’t court it.

We do accept, however, that pain can’t be entirely eliminated from our experience, so in modern times, we’ve created an entire industry devoted to a concept we call “pain management.” I was in an office complex and saw a waiting room full of people at the “Pain Management Clinic.” It usually takes a plan that crosses several disciplines – physical/medical/mental health/spiritual life/behavior management/ and occupational therapy to manage complex pain.

I’m thinking the Body of Christ could use a pain management consult right about now. Even more so as we travel into the corridor of time which will be remembered for all eternity as “the end times.”

Since in my day job, I have acquired some expertise about working across disciplines, I happily accept the challenge of suggesting some pain management techniques for the Body of Christ for use through the end times.

This is part one.

Today’s lesson: Let’s stop inflicting pain on ourselves.

That’s right, a large percentage of pain experienced by the Body of Christ is self-inflicted and can be avoided by taking some simple steps. Here are some ways we hurt ourselves and the remedies:

Poor Positioning: I struggled with terrible shoulder pain for months before an occupational therapist visited my office and explained that my chair and laptop were positioned improperly. Once I made his suggested adjustments, my pain disappeared. A friend of mine did suggest going to see a shoulder pain specialist similar to somewhere like ShoulderMD however, due to my pain clearing up, I didn’t continue looking into it.

The Body of Christ suffers at times from improper positioning. We should always align ourselves with Christ. We know this but too often, we place one foot on Biblical truth and the other on the shoulder of worldly popularity, power, or the will of the people. Spiritual muscle strain is the result but we can correct this with properly aligning ourselves with Biblical truth through obedience.

Poor Posture: Sometimes the Body of Christ looks like the headless horseman in Washington Irving’s short story “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.” Our posture is so poor we nearly tuck our head under our armpit as the body tries to take over from the head. Jesus is the head of the body and it’s important that the body places itself under His leadership. That’s the only correct posture – anything else will result in incredible pain and injury so serious, it just may leave us spineless.

Lack of Conditioning: Part of the pain the Body of Christ suffers is a result of muscle misuse. We like to be fed, don’t we? As a Body, we love to take in spiritual food but we aren’t as enamored with putting feet to our faith so our spiritual muscle atrophies. We’re so afraid of the work and strain of exercising our faith, we suffer from the resulting pain of misuse. If, as a body, we accepted the discipline and hard work involved in building the kingdom of God, we might ache for a while as we work out the kinks of muscles unfamiliar with a workout but eventually we would become strong and full of endurance. The pain would be a distant memory as we pressed on toward the goal.

Repetitive Use Injuries: And, of course, while some muscles are suffering from misuse, other body parts are overworked – like our tongues (from speaking like clanging gongs or gossiping or criticizing), or our elbows (from poking one another to point out someone else’s sin), or our eyes (from focusing on what we don’t have but want.) These parts of the Body of Christ become strained and this causes pain. The remedy for this is to increase the use of our ears and our central nervous system – open the lines of communication to all parts of the Body of Christ so that we are hearing messages from the head and working in unison.

Autoimmune activity: Before the Lord healed me, I suffered for fifteen years with an auto-immune disease. In this disease, the body isn’t satisfied with attacking germs, it also attacks healthy tissue. In this way, the body becomes its own worst enemy. I don’t really need to elaborate on this one as it relates to the Body of Christ, do I?

Avoidable work-related injuries: In another post, I’ll cover unavoidable work-related injuries, but there are times when the Body of Christ suffers pain at the hands of the world unnecessarily. Peter says in I Peter 4:15 “But let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or an evildoer or as a meddler.” Sometimes we’re doing the work of Christ but sometimes we’re just messing in people’s lives and if we suffer, we deserve the pain. At those times, the pain is there to teach us a lesson. We can avoid this pain by wearing the protective gear provided by love and an ear that is attuned to the Holy Spirit.

Sometimes physical conditioning, proper positioning, good posture, etc seem like optional luxuries but if we’re thrown into a survival situation or are faced with a marathon, these things are essential for maintaining healthy lives.

The times in which we’re living will place great demands on the Body of Christ. We cannot, as a church, sit back in our recliner clicking the remote. This is not the way of honor or of service or of love.

Pain management will be essential through the end times and the first lesson in pain management is to stop all self-inflicted pain. What’s part two? Stay tuned, loved ones, it’s on the way.

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