No Pain—No Comfort; Know Pain—Know Comfort

One summer, on my way to clean up after weeding, I yanked up a dead shrub. Suddenly, all of my limbs were stinging. To my horror, I saw yellow jackets glued to my legs. When they wouldn’t let go, I wondered if I was going to die!

After that experience, I considered wearing winter ski garb when gardening. But our southern heat and humidity quickly changed my mind. I’d like a Teflon cream you could apply like sunscreen that would protect you from stinging bugs and poison ivy!

Early in my Christian walk, I thought mature faith worked like a Teflon coating. I figured hurts, disappointments, and insults would ping off sound faith. While God has provided spiritual armor for us, I no longer believe the Teflon Christian is biblical or desirable.

The Apostle Paul was not Teflon-coated. He felt the stings of life. He made sure the Corinthians knew the great pressures that caused him to despair even of life (2 Corinthians 1:8). “For I wrote you out of great distress and anguish of heart and with many tears” (2 Corinthians 2:4 NIV). He even cataloged many of his physical and emotional sufferings in 2 Corinthians 11:23-29.

Going through suffering is how he came to know “the Father of mercies and God of all comfort” (2 Cor. 1:3 NASB). Only those who acknowledge their hurts and weaknesses are able to receive comfort.

Mama died when I was a teenager. Our family never talked about how ill she was. I guess we were in the denial stage of grief. Later, I realized how lonely that must have been for my mother (and was for us). We were so busy being strong we never said, “I’m so sad. I don’t want to lose you.”

When I learned my dad had terminal cancer, I prayed it would be different. God granted my request. On his deathbed, he wept with my sister and me as we spoke of his pending death. We affirmed our love for each other. We talked about our departed loved ones and the reunion waiting for us. We laughed through our tears as we anticipated some of the things we hoped to do in heaven. Our moment of “weakness” was one of the sweetest of my life.

In contrast, Teflon Christians who feel no pain receive no comfort. The barrier erected to protect insulates from the good so desperately needed.

I remember one such man. While his child suffered in the hospital with leukemia and through grueling tests and treatments, he boasted that his faith made him impervious to pain. I thought of the loneliness his denial must have caused his wife, child and himself. I also thought of the inevitable crash awaiting him when his feelings caught up.

How much better it would have been if he could have admitted, “I’m afraid. It hurts me to watch my child suffer and not be able to stop it. But I’m leaning on Jesus. His grace sustains me.”

While ski masks and thick clothing are not practical for warm weather yard work, I do wear long sleeves and gloves when working around my roses. And I keep an eye out for yellow jackets. In the same way, I can’t expose my weaknesses and sorrows to everyone. But being honest with God, trusted friends, and myself is much healthier than suffocating under layers of self-protection or other forms of Teflon.

Click here to comment.

Blessings,

Debbie W. Wilson

Sometimes I link to the following great sites: Mondays@SoulsSurvival, #TestimonyTuesday, #Titus2Tuesday, #IntentialTuesday, #TuesTalk, #Tell it to me Tuesdays, #w2wwordfilledwednesday, #Wedded Wednesday, #Women with Intention,  #LivefreeThursday, #WordswithWinter, #Grace and Truth

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22 Comments

22 Comments

  1. Tanya Shelton

    Thank you, Precious Debbie, for these truth-filled words of encouragement
    to be real and let the Lord cover us with his love and comfort along with dear
    ones with whom we have safe relationships. My husband and I have prayed and cried together over many hard things, the most painful so far being the demise of our daughter’s marriage to our son-in-love that we loved.
    His life became captured by the effects of evil through the portal of drugs and alcohol. Your dear Larry has helped us as a family during many visits through this and he has been a minister of God’s comfort and clarity to our daughter, the children and me. Your transparency is so powerful and encouraging and your spiritual insights are growth inspiring. You have been in our lives for many years and for this we praise God and ask Him to comfort you in the midst of all the hard places and all the hours of work when you pour out yourself for others. You and Larry are truly gifts from God to thousands!!!
    My love to you… T.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Tanya, thank you for your sweet words of encouragement. Your family is in our hearts. May God wrap His mighty arms around each of you. God bless.

  2. Pam payne

    Thank you for being so transparent and real. Your words brought tears to my eyes…I am so glad you are YOU and thank God for the gift of “words” that He has given you. Hard times are difficult but they keep me nestled up real close to Him.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Thank you, Pam. I love that image of being nestled up real close to Him!

  3. Lois

    Debbie W Wilson, thank you so very much for this post. I have been and continue to struggle with the “teflon outer and inter-wear”. Your posting is a blessing. Thank you.
    Lois

    • Debbie Wilson

      Thank you, Lois! I think most of us struggle with it from time to time.

  4. Ann

    I totally agree Debbie – you can’t experience and appreciate comfort unless and until you honestly experience pain. It’s not fun but it is part of life and whether we want to admit it or not, we all experience it. Whether we do so honestly, resting in God’s peace to sustain us or pretend we have it all together and nothing bothers us truly makes all the difference. Thank you so much for sharing your experience with the death of your parents and how different each was.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Thank you, Ann.

  5. Constance Ann Morrison

    Lord, keep me from being a Teflon Christian. Help me to remember that Christ walks with us during our sorrows. He doesn’t keep us from experiencing them.

    Thanks, Debbie

    • Debbie Wilson

      Constance, thanks for reading. I read your post and am very sorry for your loss.

  6. Horace Williams Jr

    Ouch Debbie! Yellow Jackets…..not a fan at all! I’m glad you survived. What a thought provoking reminder of why pain and suffering is part of the equation for any believer. What a blessing that our Lord and Savior is always there to carry us through! Thanks for sharing and have a wonderful week!

    • Debbie Wilson

      Thank you, Horace. God bless.

  7. Melanie Redd

    What a good word, Debbie!

    That teflon coating is lonely and empty! Love having friends and family with whom we can share, pour out our hearts, and pray for each other.

    Love your example of those bees too~

    I came over on Messy Marriage, and I’m glad to find your post.
    Hope you have a blessed day~
    Melanie

    • Debbie Wilson

      Thanks so much, Melanie.

  8. Ann Johnson

    Amen, Debbie! The only use this Christian has for “Teflon” is for letting guilt and condemnation slide off.

    Bless you,
    Ann

    • Debbie Wilson

      Love that, Ann!

  9. Crystal Storms

    Hard words of truth, Debbie: “Only those who acknowledge their hurts and weaknesses are able to receive comfort.” The walls we put up to protect ourselves turn into prison walls that keep comfort out. I pray we have tender hearts that allow God’s love and comfort in. Thank you, Debbie, for sharing your heart at #IntentionalTuesday on Intentionally Pursuing. : )

  10. Debbie Wilson

    Amen, Crystal! Thanks for reading.

  11. ~ linda

    Your words speak deeply to me. When my Daddy died, I was 12. We never spoke these words either. He died in the hospital and then Mom was struggling to bear the grief and then said to me, the oldest of three, “If you are going to cry, you cannot go to the funeral.” I did not go. It has taken most of my life to finally be able to say goodbye to Daddy. Then Mom was almost 99 before she died, yet a similar turn occurred for us and we could talk about dying and loving and being a family. Thank you for sharing your heart with us. We need openness in this life of community.
    Caring through Christ, ~ linda

    • Debbie Wilson

      Oh, Linda. Your words touched me deeply. My aunt said that when her father suddenly died (my dad was only two at the time) they were forbidden to bring him up again around their mother. I can’t imagine such a burden for you or for them. Thank you for sharing your heart.

  12. Hannah

    In my experience that perfect deathbed experience is very rare. It is ideal to be able to talk openly and grieve openly, but hard to accomplish. Thanks for the insights.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Hannah, it was certainly God’s grace gift to us in a hard time. Talking about death is not the big taboo for those who know heaven is a better place as it is for those who don’t have that blessed assurance. Head knowledge doesn’t cut it in real life drama. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

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