We all have experienced pain and much of our pain is heart breaking. While the world is full of pain, very few of us have been trained on how to deal with it in a healthy way and many of us either medicate or motivate in order to escape. The psalmist tells us that, “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit” (Psalm 34:18). While we know this is the truth, there seem to be so few that are truly comforted by this reality. Pain accumulates over time when it’s not dealt with, it leads to many mental, emotion, spiritual, and relational issues. It’s essential that we be honest before the Lord with our pain in order to be truly healed and restored.
Do you want to be well?
In John 5, Jesus walks into an environment full of invalids that are blind, lame, and paralyzed. There was a man that had been sick for 38 years that Jesus approached and asked, “Do you want to be healed?” (John 5:6). What a fascinating question to ask a sick person. Was Jesus being insensitive and lacking compassion? On the contrary, Jesus was trying to teach a lesson about healing. Jesus wanted to hear from the man’s own lips that he was READY and WILLING to be changed. The great theologian William Barclay notes, “Jesus is establishing that the first step toward wholeness is always deep desire for it.” In the spiritual realm, man’s great problem is that either he does not recognize he is sick or he does not want to be cured.
It is key to understand that healing is more than an act of God. It is a partnership that we enter into. I believe Jesus would ask each of us, “Are you ready to put your sickness behind you? Do you want to be healed?” In the Bible, Jesus never heals a person against their will, because he wanted them to participate in the process. “And Jesus said to him, “What do you want me to do for you?” And the blind man said to him, “Rabbi, let me recover my sight” (Mark 10:51). We have a part to play in our healing.
Medicating our pain
We all deal with our pain some way, right or wrong. King David was a humble man with a heart for God, a great warrior, true friend, prophet, priest, and king. However, David was also a wounded man that medicated his pain.
In a closer look at David’s life, we see he didn’t deal with pain well. David had a sexual problem. He had many wives and concubines, and he took another man’s wife and committed adultery with her. He then proceeded to have Uriah, the woman’s husband, killed in the line of battle. Of note here is that Uriah was one of the most elite warriors in David’s army and would have been known by David very well. David medicated his pain by turning to sex like many do today. According to the Pure Desire Ministry:
A survey conducted over the past five years revealed that 68 percent of Christian men and 50 percent of pastors view pornography regularly. But even more shocking is that 11-17 year-old boys reported being its greatest users. The Church is in the sexual battle of its life. As these boys become adults, the Church will be flooded with porn addicts.
Finding the root
Where did David’s pain come from? A key point is that David was rejected by every major authority figure in his life. David’s father Jesse overlooked, belittled, and diminished him by not even bothering to invite him when Samuel called for all the sons. It’s safe to say that David, being the youngest, would have received very little attention or encouragement from his father.
Then he asked Jesse, “Is this it? Are there no more sons?” “Well, yes, there’s the runt. But he’s out tending the sheep.” Samuel ordered Jesse, “Go get him. We’re not moving from this spot until he’s here.
-1 Samuel 16:11 (The Message)
If this were not enough pain, David’s oldest brother Eliab also belittles and diminishes David out of jealousy and anger:
Eliab, his older brother, heard David fraternizing with the men and lost his temper: “What are you doing here! Why aren’t you minding your own business, tending that scrawny flock of sheep? I know what you’re up to. You’ve come down here to see the sights, hoping for a ringside seat at a bloody battle!
-1 Samuel 17:28 (The Message)
After David kills Goliath, Saul then becomes offended. “This was their song: “Saul has killed his thousands, and David his ten thousands!” This made Saul very angry. “What’s this?” he said. “They credit David with ten thousands and me with only thousands. Next they’ll be making him their king!” So from that time on Saul kept a jealous eye on David” (1 Samuel 18:7–9). The word for “jealous eye” in the Hebrews means “to eye suspiciously or angrily with disapproval and distrust.” There was no loving, caring, or nurturing male authority figure that gave David good archives to retrieve when his family was melting down. David had a sexual problem because he wouldn’t deal with his pain.
Motivating our pain
David’s son Solomon also experienced significant pain. He was David’s chosen heir to the throne, the wisest man who ever lived, and was an accomplished writer, trader, and patron of the arts. Solomon had so much gold that silver did not have any value in his day! He was also the son of David and Bathsheba. Imagine the shame that was gnawing away at his heart knowing that he was the son of a scandal. Solomon’s sister, Tamar, was raped by his brother, Amnon. His other brother Absolom takes revenge and kills Amnon for what he did. Solomon was ultimately forced to kill his brother Adonijah for trying to take the kingdom from him. David did a poor job of setting Solomon up to be king, and their family was riddled with drama.
Instead of dealing with his pain, Solomon chose to motivate his pain. According to Ecclesiastes 2:4-10, Solomon turned to overachieving, acquiring, and work to comfort his pain. Solomon was a classic workaholic who reflected on everything he had accomplished and acquired at the end of his life:
Then I took a good look at everything I’d done, looked at all the sweat and hard work. But when I looked, I saw nothing but smoke. Smoke and spitting into the wind. There was nothing to any of it. Nothing
-Ecclesiastes 2:11 (The Message)
Like many in America, Solomon motivated his pain. According to “America’s Busyness Epidemic” infographic, commuters in America are more stressed out than fighter pilots, and over 40 million Americans are sleep deprived because they are so busy. When we are in pain, we keep the music playing or the TV on because when we are by ourselves, pain shows up. When we have a hard time being silent before the Lord it shows that we are running from our pain instead of going into the presence of the Lord for His healing work.
Healing your pain
When you are hiding from God, you are hiding from your healer. He tells us that “He will give you rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:28). He is gentle in His healing. Instead of dealing with their pain, David and Solomon tried to medicate or motivate. Those who medicate cause pain because of their addictions, and those who motivate cause pain because of their avoidance.
Instead of motivating or medicating your pain, choose today to turn to the Lord. Turn off all the distractions and get honest before God. Trust in Him, take responsibility for any sin behavior, and receive fresh mercy in your time of need.