Faith, life, relationships, Uncategorized
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Can We Listen to the Aching? {giving pain a purpose}

A little post today, linking up with Lisa-Jo on the one word: ache.

I had known the pain of labor, intense and productive.

I had known the pain of a broken heart, the kind that makes you gasp for breath and cry from a depth before unmined.

I had known the pain of a mother’s loss, when saying goodbye comes before saying hello.

But the pain happen always happened in  seasons between which hung a cheerful bunting, fluttering in breezes that says “all is well”.

Consider the neurological and physiological functions that produce the sensation of pain and you might agree with me that pain is all-consuming. When we suffer through, it’s with the signage of pain flashing across our mind like a bar advertising it’s midnight special in neon.

And the reality is, to live with searing pain every day is debilitating. I didn’t really comprehend this until our accident.

We adjust to aching, however.

We call it hurting, just a little bit.
We overcompensate in other ways in order to function with the ache.

And this isn’t altogether a bad thing. After all, we ache for so many reasons, physical and mental and emotional. God gave us this amazing response mechanism to prioritize and decide what we can handle and what we cannot.

We usually use “ache” to describe a pain in response to something gone wrong, not functioning properly: stomachache, headache, sideache, backache, heartache. It’s bearable, just not so much fun.

And that’s why medical professionals advise us to listen to our bodies, to tune into the rhythms of who we are. What’s normal and what is a signal that something isn’t functioning properly.

When I have used this same assessment to listen to my soul, to tune into the aching of my prayers, I can see that often, there are deeper issues at play. Issues that need to be soothed, or treated, or addressed somehow.

The ache of envy, the ache of hurt pride. The niggling pain of words that hurt. The dull, persistent pain of unresolved conflict. We all have these aches, these pains of living.

Let us not however, be like Dostoevky, the Russian novelist, saying that “My hosannah is ‘born of a furnace of doubt’.” What a pain-saturated statement. Focusing on the pain and hoping it purifies us  isn’t the way.

In subtle contrast, Larry Crabb said that, “The loss of felt choice does not mean the loss of real choice.” 

We all are walking wounded.

Our savior, Jesus, said that ,”It’s the sick that need a doctor, not the healthy.” He wasn’t referring to anyone not needing his miraculous soul-healing, but addressing the real choice that we all have to decide if we want divine grace to heal all our aches, all our pride-produced suffering, or if we simply want to continue to spiritually self-medicate (as the spiritual leaders of his day did).

Can we listen to the aching? Can we choose to let our soul-aches come out into the open air for a bit and allow the power of the Holy Spirit of Christ to comfort and heal us, to make us functioning and healthy again?

Can we choose to see others, the withdrawn, the angry, the overly-needy, those with sharp-edges and sharper tongues, as walking wounded, souls hugging aches too big for them to handle alone?

Can our aching draw the serum of compassion from the wounds of our souls? Can we share the comfort of Christ even to those whose blows have been the reason we’ve lived with un-soothable ache?

We do have a choice, like Larry Crabb said. We may have lost the choice we felt was rightly ours, but there is another real choice waiting to bring us into the heart-healing Light of Jesus.


Bless you my friends in real life and URL that come to read and share and take part in growing together. We feel the ache of growing pains, too, sometimes don’t we?

Oh, we need compassion for one another, the empathy of shared hurts and joys. Let’s remember this weekend to show ourselves and others Grace as we learn to trust Jesus more.





  1. “…addressing the real choice that we all have to decide if we want divine grace to heal all our aches, all our pride-produced suffering…”

    Our pride-produced suffering. Exactly what I wrote about on today’s Five Minute Friday and Ache topic. Thank you for the wake-up call!

    • Monica,
      I’m living with chronic pain right now since I’m recovering from an accident. This has taught me that certain aching is part of the process of being human, and other aches we nurse and hold on to because of the pride that keeps us “dealing” with things on our own, refusing to allow God to heal us. And don’t we often choose to feel a martyr because we cherish pride? Thanks for sharing and coming by the blog — blessings — Alyssa

  2. roseann elliott says

    wonderful post…as always…I love your insight…find myself saying…oh yes…I was reading a devotional this morning…not looking the the symptoms…but the roots in our lives…oh those aches that cause pain…there is healing for those…the blood…
    thanks for this…have a wonderful weekend.

    • roseann — I was out working in my garden (yay!) and thought about the roots… yes, they grow deeply and cling tight… thank God we have a savior who deals with roots and not merely symptoms! Bless you, friend. Alyssa

  3. To think (among other things!) I had intended to lessen my recent enjoyment of blogs during this lenten season and would have missed both your lent blog and this one! Both have been just where I’m at in accepting God’s grace just for who I am right now and how to see my way to share both of myself and of God’s grace, “even to those whose blows have been the reason we’ve lived with un-soothable ache?” as you said. While I see how some have harmed my family I seek further to see how they have given us insights, strength and a need for God’s greater love that is bigger than any mountain. When did I stop seeing that (grace) and fall into a pit of dispair as the hurt I watched inflicted become pain greater than loved ones could bear rather than to stay in faith that we could, through God’s loving grace, grow to be all He has called us to be in Him?

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