The Paradox of Pain
The puzzling truth about a painless life is that it leads to destruction
I once read a story of a little African boy—no older than five or six—who leapt off a tin roof to stony ground. Onlookers rushed to his aid and marveled at what they saw. This little boy was not whimpering, he was giggling. Cut and scuffed, he limped home, grinning and glowing at the crowd’s attention and admiration.
Tragically, he died three days later.
Why? When he smashed against the ground, his ankle cracked and he began bleeding internally. His parents ignored the swelling thinking it was just a sprain—after all he was still hobbling around and laughing and playing like the rest of the children. If only they’d treated the bleeding inside his ankle he would have survived.
The danger was masked from everyone, including the boy, because he suffered from a rare genetic disease, Congenital Indifference to Pain, which means he couldn’t feel pain sensations in his body. This boy lived his entire little life without pain, he never knew it—and it killed him.
It’s a great paradox, one that we rarely stop to consider: pain protects us. Without it, we cannot live well, we cannot live at all. It’s the warning system of the body, alerting our senses, telling us something is wrong, we need help.
The puzzling truth about a painless life is that it leads to destruction. Though it may sound strange, even heretical, pain is a priceless gift from a wise and intelligent Creator.
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