Chosen Pain

Today I participated in a 3K Color run/walk the high school Student Council organized to raise funds for Riley Children’s Hospital. As I contemplated what to wear at a too early 7:30 am, I mulled over the reasons why I had volunteered to participate in this activity.

As a former patient at Riley, I relished the idea of giving back, even a tiny amount for the amazing love and care that the staff and physicians gave me while I was there as a seven-year-old open heart patient. But did they have to plan the thing to start so early? I’ve felt run-down the last few weeks from the demands of the end of the school year and track season, coupled with writing and editing goals. Motivating myself to leave my warm bed on a Saturday morning was difficult. Yet, I got up.

The idea of exercise enticed me since my efforts at walking have gone without achievement lately. Finding a pair of long jogging pants and a long-sleeved shirt that would withstand the onslaught of colored chalk (or whatever that substance is they throw at you) unscathed, I pulled them on. Opting for an older pair of socks, I ferreted out my headband to keep the wind out of my ears and protect my gifted air pods from damage, grabbed a baggie for my phone, and headed to the car.

The wind bit at my face and hands as I slid the white t-shirt with the event logo over my head. Student Council members shivered inside sweatshirts and gloves as they manned the registration table. I retreated to my car to await the 9 o’clock start in relative warmth.

Despite the cold, an impressive crowd gathered to douse each other with colors prior to the start of the event. Again, I marveled at the frequency that we humans choose pain over comfort. Tattoos, piercings, blood, transplant, and bone marrow donations, marathons, triathlons, iron man competitions, the Olympics. . . I could go on and on with the choices people make that involve voluntary pain.

Why do we do this? Why do we often choose pain over comfort? Invariably it is because when we make such choices, we believe the final outcome is worth the temporary suffering. In other words, the future benefit outweighs the present pain.

This is the reason, as we are told in Hebrews 12:2, that Jesus chose to endure the cross.

I, for one, am sure glad He decided the future joy was worth the present pain and suffering He endured as He sacrificed Himself on the cross for me and for all of humankind. Without that single decision, a decision to forego present circumstances for a future outcome, all of us would have lost the option of an eternal life in Heaven.

The fact that we make similar types of decisions, though not ones of equal weight or significance, is just another proof of how we were created in God’s image by the loving hand of God himself.

For those of you who may be traveling through a time of suffering, whether by your own choosing or by the hand of someone else, I pray your knowledge of the future, that those who believe in Jesus, acknowledge Him as the resurrected Son of God, and trust in Him as their Savior, will someday rise to live in Heaven to live in His presence in a place He has created with no pain and no suffering, only eternal joy. Our weakness allows God’s power to be demonstrated in us as we rely on his grace to bear us through our trials.