Most of us like to avoid pain at all costs. But world-famous surgeon Paul Brand will tell you that pain is an important and valuable tool our bodies have to tell us what is wrong. After moving to India, he learned “that pain can be borne with dignity and calm acceptance. It was there I began treating leprosy patients, pariahs whose tragedy stems from the absence of physical pain. The horrible disfigurement associated with the disease, we now know, has to do with the numbing of the sensation of pain. People with leprosy lack an internal system to warn them of danger, and they often wear their fingers, hands, and feet down to stumps” (Paul Brand and Philip Yancey, “And God Created Pain,” Christianity Today, January 10, 1994). Much in the same way, our pain often drives us to a source of healing and helps us avoid the cause of our pain. The story the Bible tells of King Nebuchadnezzar sounds very much like many of the conversion stories we read about: the dire consequences of his sin—being driven away from his people, losing his sanity, and losing his power and comforts (Daniel 4:33)—ultimately drove him to “acknowledge that the Most High is sovereign over all kingdoms on earth and gives them to anyone he wishes” (Daniel 4:32).
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