The Joy of Pain and Toil


As usual, I am thinking about pain and my patients today.  Since it is the week of Easter I thought I would look for some inspiration in the scripture.  This is what I found:

Psalm 90: 9-10

All our days pass away under your wrath; we finish our years with a moan. Our days may come to seventy years, or eighty, if our strength endures; yet the best of them are but trouble and sorrow, for they quickly pass, and we fly away.

A bit grim…

However, I think there is actually a message of hope here for people suffering from chronic pain.  The message is:

Pain is normal.

Some translations of the above verses say: “…yet the best of them (the days of our lives) are but pain and sorrow…”  I understand this to mean that we as humans should expect to frequently encounter pain in our lives and that this is not a bad thing.

Verse 15 of Psalm 90 says:

Make us glad for as many days as you have afflicted us, for as many years as we have seen trouble (or pain).

What this means is that all people have a mortal body that will break down, and as a result we can expect some physical suffering.  This is normal.  In fact, we should consider it a blessing, because we have earned these pains through our work.  Think of it like this:

If you go to the gym, and work out very hard, you may be sore the next day.


If you are in the yard digging, and hauling dirt, your back may hurt the next day.


If you work in an office, and have a particularly long day of meetings sitting in a cramped position, you may hurt the next day.

The key is, this pain is earned by what we have done.  It teaches us how to protect our bodies.  It is a sign of life.  We can think of the pain protecting our body from injury as God’s loving hand protecting us from harm.

You should not have to live with pain, but pain is a normal part of life. And ultimately, “(the years) will quickly pass, and we will fly away,” to better things than pain and toil.  Just some hopeful thoughts for Easter.  God’s Blessings.


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