The medical community defines referred pain as pain felt at a site other than where the cause is situated.
I’ve experienced a lot of referred pain this year.
In January, it turns out referred pain made me think I was having a heart attack. Instead of cardiac issues, in reality my gallbladder was attacking.
After they removed that little organ last week, I had intense referred pain. Apparently, all the air the doctors pumped into my belly to see my insides got stuck inside me. The result: referred pain searing through my shoulder so severe I couldn’t lay down the night after surgery.
America is suffering under some extraordinary referred pain these days.
The pain is real.
But it’s being felt, and dealt, from a site other than where the cause is situated.
People suffering from loneliness, heartbreak, poverty, isolation, deprivation, darkness, and shame experience, and dish out, pain in places other than its source.
You carry weight brought on from eating to try and stem the tide of referred pain.
You carry debt heaped on your family from buying things as an attempt to ease referred pain.
Long hours from too much work. Too many failed relationships trying to fill a hole. And more and more, from every corner of our land, vitriolic words spewed through Facebook and Twitter and blog posts and radiowaves all powered out referred pain.
Under ultrasound, the diagnosis would read: fear; lack of love; rejection; insecurity…
But without the instruments necessary to find the true source of the pain, we fumble around blindly trying to find a reprieve where we feel it.
We want people to approve of us. We want to have a voice.
Ann Voskamp said, “Those who keep score in life just want to know that they count. When you work for an audience of One, you always know that you count.”
The referred pain drives us to seek acceptance. Tallying external success metrics like Scrooge counted gold. Or cutting down others in order to make ourselves feel smarter or prettier or better or more popular.
When we can look past the pain, ever so real, and allow the instrument of God’s truth to diagnosis us, we can finally find peace. We can find relief. We can begin to heal the true source of pain.
As the source of pain heals, we are able to help others heal. The cycle of pain is broken.
Blessed be God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble by the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 2 Corinthians 1
If you hold to my teaching… Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. John 8