“I’d give anything for her to feel pain”

August 2, 2006 at 10:43 pm 5 comments

5-year-old Ashlyn Blocker can’t feel pain.

Ashlyn was born with an extremely rare genetic disease called congenital insensitivity to pain with anhidrosis, or CIPA. Though all her other senses are normal, the disease prevents her from feeling painful sensations or from being able to sense extreme temperatures.

Consequently, when Ashlyn first started teething, she would chew her mouth raw while she was sleeping and would mutilate her tongue during meals. At age three, Ashlyn severely burned herself unknowingly after touching a hot pressure washer. Other victims of the disease have broken bones without knowing it, or died from appendicitis because there were no symptoms.

Ashlyn’s mother, Tara Blocker, says some people think it would be great to live a pain-free life. But Tara strongly disagrees with them: “Pain’s there for a reason. It lets your body know something’s wrong and it needs to be fixed. I’d give anything for her to feel pain.” (AP article)

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I have no definitive answers for why pain exists, or why a good God would allow his creation to experience suffering. It’s undeniably difficult to adequately explain the presence of all this evil.

Yet I can’t say I would wish for a world without pain. We think we have it bad because our lives are full of hurts. But we would have it a lot worse if we were immune to these hurts. Were it not for our pain, we would never know anything was wrong in our world.

Pain, then, is not something that speaks against the existence of a good God, nor is it something we must somehow reconcile with God’s perfection.

On the contrary, the capacity to feel pain is an expression of God’s goodness; it is His gracious provision for our proclivity to wander from the Good. Pain hurts, yes. But at least we can thank God for not allowing us to mistake our own destruction for pleasure.

::

“God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pain: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world. A bad man, happy, is a man without the least inkling that his actions do not ‘answer’, that they are not in accord with the laws of the universe.” – C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain

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Profile

profile.jpgI am working on my M.A. in Religion at Andrews University in Berrien Springs, Michigan. Besides having a big interest in theology, history, ethics, and the deep stuff of life, I am also very fond of Mediterranean food, snow, and the color red.

Email me: jamie.kiley@gmail.com

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