Pain is a Wonderful Symptom

Martyn Lloyd-Jones

The world, it is obvious, has fallen into this primary and fundamental error, an error which one could illustrate in many different ways. Think of a man who is suffering from some painful disease. Generally the one desire of such a patient is to be relieved of his pain, and one can understand that very well. No-one likes suffering pain. The one idea of this patient, therefore, is to do anything which will relieve him of it. Yes; but if the doctor who is attending this patient is also only concerned about relieving this man’s pain he is a very bad doctor. His primary duty is to discover the cause of the pain and to treat that.

Pain is a wonderful symptom which is provided by nature to call attention to disease, and the ultimate treatment for pain is to treat the disease, not the pain. So if a doctor merely treats the pain without discovering the cause of the pain, he is not only acting contrary to nature, he is doing something that is extremely dangerous to the life of the patient. The patient may be out of pain, and seems to be well; but the cause of the trouble is still there. Now that is the folly of which the world is guilty. It says, `I want to get rid of my pain, so I will run to the pictures, or drink, or do anything to help me forget my pain.’ But the question is, What is the cause of the pain and the unhappiness and the wretchedness? They are not happy who hunger and thirst after happiness and blessedness. No. `Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness : for they shall be filled.’

Adapted from Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Studies in the Sermon on the Mount

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