When we hammer a nail and accidentally hit our thumb, we scream, shake our hand, massage our thumb, or maybe put ice on it to make it feel better. Turns out, a distraction “tricks” our brain to forget about the pain temporarily. This works the same way with many emotional pain. Doing another activity such as meeting friends, watching a movie, or playing distracts us to temporarily relieve us from our troubles. Distraction works by refocusing our brain’s attention on another sensation.

In this world, there is much pain and suffering, but when we refocus our attention on God, we can rejoice even in the midst of our suffering.

We can remember that God has overcome the world and all the suffering in it:

  • I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world, you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world. – John 16:33
  • He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away. – Revelation 21:4

We can remember that God is always there to comfort us:

  • The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. – Psalm 34:18
  • He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. – Psalm 147:3
  • Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. – 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

We can rejoice that we join Him when we suffer for Him:

  • Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. – 1 Peter 4:12-13

Pain also has its benefits. When we break our leg, pain is there to remind us not to put weight on it. In the same way, pain can be a result of our own mistakes, and it is there as a consequence of our sins. Through pain, God disciplines His children to remind us to confess our sins, ask God for forgiveness, and not do it again.

  • It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. – Hebrews 12:7-8

As we welcome this new year, we not only hope for the best but also prepare for the worst. Pain and suffering will always be with us on this side of heaven, but let us refocus on God who is greater than all our pain and suffering.