Listen to episode 323 of the Inspirational Living podcast: The Mystery of Pain & Suffering | A Loving God? Edited and adapted from The Adventure of Life by Robert W. Mackenna.
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Today’s reading, which was edited and adapted from the Adventure of Life by Robert W. Mackenna, published in 1919.
Everyone who has devoted a moment's thought to the problems of life must have reflected on the purpose of pain. To the superficial, it must seem a needless phenomenon, an experience calculated to increase the sum total of human misery, but altogether devoid of any beneficial qualities. To them it appears malevolent; an evil thing to be avoided at any cost; an invention of the devil.
Such a view is directly opposed to the truth, for, as a matter of fact, the good qualities of pain more than outweigh the evil ones. Pain is a sentinel which guards the outposts of life for us, and without it the citadel would be more easily overthrown. It is one of the greatest helps to the physician in their work. The presence of pain, indicated by the sufferer, gives an immediate clue to the site of their trouble.
The veterinarian whose patients cannot describe in articulate speech the locality or the nature of the distress they suffer, works at a disadvantage compared with the physician whose patients are human beings. The former must rely on the secondary phenomena of pain to guide them to the site of the mischief. The latter, by a few direct questions, can elicit from the patient not only the precise situation of their pain, but also some knowledge of its character and intensity.
Pain is not malevolent but diagnostic, remedial, and frequently life-saving. It confers benefits upon the individual — and their sufferings, rightly read, may confer benefit upon a multitude. It is also disciplinary and educational. The first child that scorched a finger in the fire has passed into a proverb, and so achieved immortality.