A couple of years ago I heard the story of Dr Paul Brand.
Dr Brand has spent his life working with leprosy patients in India and the United States.
For anyone who has ever rolled their eyes heavenward and wondered why there is pain on this earth, Brand recommends taking a look at the disease of leprosy.
People who suffer from leprosy wake up each day and face the reality of a world where they literally feel no pain. The consequences of that are tragic and real. Because their bodies cannot feel pain they have no indicators letting them know when something is wrong. They suffer bodily injury because they are unable to determine how much pressure to apply to move an object. They lose appendages because they aren’t able to identify how hot or cold things are because they cannot feel pain.
Brand worked with leprosy patients for 50 years and during that time he became absolutely convinced that pain is one of God’s greatest gifts to us. The system of pain the human body is so intricate and so phenomenal he couldn’t replicate it; not with an abundance of grants or with intensive research or even his life’s energy.
I was reminded of that story when I read this quote this morning:
“Suppose you eliminate suffering . . . What a dreadful place the world would be! Because everything that corrects the tendency of man to feel over important and overplayed with himself would disappear. He is bad enough now, but he would be absolutely intolerable if he never suffered.” Malcolm Muggeridge, Jesus Rediscovered (1969)