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Profitable Pain

Tuesday True Tale #97



AUG 29, 2023

I am almost six weeks post-knee replacement surgery as I write this. It has been a challenging few weeks, and I am improving. I am still going to physical therapy, which takes a lot of discipline and tolerance. My current therapists have been relatively easy on me compared to Bruno, who came to my house the day after surgery.

There is a large muscle in the upper thigh called the vastus medailis. Its job is to extend the knee joint. This muscle must be moved to the side during surgery to replace the knee. As Bruno pointed out, these muscles don’t like that, so they tend to swell, become rigid, and very painful. Without therapy, I’d never regain the range of motion I wanted, so I yielded to the painful treatment.

The first few days were brutal; while lying on my back, Bruno bent my knee and pushed it toward my face. I was determined not to “tap out” by telling him it was too much; I trusted he would not overdo it, even though it felt like it. Time and again, he pushed my knee further. I grimaced and groaned at the pain, so much so that my wife had to leave the room. Just when I thought I couldn’t take it anymore, he’d say, “Two more.” And finally, we’d be done for the day.

After two weeks of the “Bruno beatdown,” I was released to drive to a physical rehab center. I asked my new PT why she was being so easy on me. “You came in here with a very good range of motion; we just need to get you a little further, to normal range.” Although I didn’t feel like it then, I was fortunate to have Bruno as my therapist; he didn’t care that he hurt me because he knew it was ultimately for my good, and I learned some spiritual lessons from Bruno’s treatment.



Painful trials are rarely a bad thing. Every experience is a good experience if you learn from it. Pain is a warning. Pain is a protector. God uses pain for our good, both physically and emotionally. He leans on us when we are disobedient. It hurts, and we are wise to respond by repenting. The longer we resist repentance, the harder the Lord leans. He also uses pain to help us grow. He cares that it hurts but does it anyway because it is for our good. Pain gets our attention. It moves us to act and correct or change something so we never experience that pain again. These are hard lessons to learn, but our heavenly father does what is necessary because we are his stubborn children.

Pain forces us to endure and wait patiently for an end while we cling to the arms of God. We gain strength, trust, and deeper faith in our Savior there. We think we know our limits, but we don’t. We are too easy on ourselves. If I had done my own therapy, I would have stopped at a pain level far lower than “mean old” Bruno’s. I would not have benefitted from therapy if he had not pushed me beyond my preferred pain threshold. I would never have known what I could endure. To get full benefit, I needed to be pushed past myself. God’s trials for us are meant to push us past our preferred pain threshold so that through his care and strength, we will endure far more than we think. That means it will hurt. It will push us until we want to quit, but the Lord sometimes says, “Not yet, a little more for your benefit!”

God’s trials force us to grow. The Lord is not cavalier with our trials. He watches, cares, controls, and manages them as we tough it out, and then enjoy the fruit of our steadfast endurance and rejoice in his faithful watch-care. The objective of our spiritual walk is deeper faith, maturity, and contentment in God’s will. Trials are essential in this process. We should be very thankful our heavenly father loves us enough to push us beyond our limits for our good and his glory.

James 1:2-4 - Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

1 Peter 5:10 And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.

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By Bill Branks M.A. D.Min. · Launched 2 years ago

Great street stories show us life, hope, and Biblical truths. Please join the journey. As an inner-city pastor (Chicago & Detroit) I've seen quite a bit from humor to tragedy. After 17 years, I’m still surprised and delighted by every human being I meet!

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