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Made for Pleasure or Pain?

laugh-cryThere are two types of people in the world (don’t you love such sweeping generalities?),

  1. those who believe we were made for pleasure
  2. those who believe we were made for pain

Many believe that pleasure is the goal and without it life is meaningless. You can let go of anything or anyone who causes you the slightest pain because you and your perceived happiness is all that matters.

Others see pain as the constant thread that holds life together. Even some pursuing spirituality would say you mustn’t pursue happiness because pain will be what perfects you.

Here’s something interesting I read in Philip Yancey’s book, Where Is God When It Hurts? ,

The body contains no dedicated “pleasure” sensors. Sensors in your fingers that report to your brain information about heat, or the extent of a mild electric shock, or the degree of coarseness of a rough surface, are the same sensors that convey to you the feel of velvet or satin… I hope I do not so insulate myself from pain that I no longer feel pleasure.

Your life is not divided into pleasure and pain. Just as your body does not have separate sensors or nerve endings to process the two, neither should we try to sort it all out or pursue one or the other.

A life fully lived contains pleasure and pain together.

When you try to minimize pain and maximize pleasure, you will eventually find yourself numbed to both. The same is true if you go looking for pain and trying to forsake any pleasure.

A healthy body processes both pain and pleasure. If you can’t distinguish or feel numb to either, you need something to intervene. Thankfully, in our lives, we know the Healer who specializes in wholeness. It’s the promise of the Gospel.

I’m amazed by what I would have missed out on if I had been unwilling to go through pain to get to joy. When I submit it all to God and let Him lead my life, all I have to do is live. What a beautiful freedom that is!

Can I say that again so no one misses it? The healing brought by God’s love, grace, and redemption means all you have to do is live.

 I have been crucified with the Anointed One—I am no longer alive—but the Anointed is living in me; and whatever life I have left in this failing body I live by the faithfulness of God’s Son, the One who loves me and gave His body on the cross for me. –Galatians 2:20 (VOICE)

I used to feel pressure with that verse, that I had better be careful because this life I live is not mine so I can’t waste it. Now I see, whether my body fails me or Jesus returns, my responsibility is to encounter Him and simply live.

There will be joy; there will be pain. There will be moments when I’m tempted to give up and others where I feel on mountain peaks of victory. It’s all His life and there is no pressure as I continually come to Him and receive healing and grace to walk it all out in His truth.

Have you ever considered there are no separate pain/pleasure sensors? What does that mean to you? Have any other thoughts on this?


  1. Honestly, Jason, I hadn’t thought about these sensors being one in the same until you wrote about it here. And you are so right -- we are not created to live either/or, but to live knowing Jesus lives within us. Blessings!
    Martha Orlando recently posted..For It Is Not Me SpeakingMy Profile

    • I had never considered it before reading it in this book either! It’s fascinating and very telling. Thanks so much! Blessings to you, Martha.

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