Today’s Scripture: And God sent me before you to preserve you a posterity in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance. So now it was not you that sent me hither, but God: and he hath made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house, and a ruler throughout all the land of Egypt. Genesis 45:7-8

When I think of trying to understand the point of pain, I think of one man, Dr. Paul W. Brand. He was a gifted orthopedic surgeon who ministered in India alongside a relative of mine, Dr. Ida Scudder. She started the Christian Medical College and Hospital in Vellore, India, and Dr. Brand and his wife began teaching there in 1946.

It was there that the Brands first came across victims of leprosy. These deformed and crippled people agonized alone because others were fearful of contracting this terrible disease. Deeply affected by these poor souls, he and his wife dedicated themselves to relieving their suffering.

He soon discovered that those with leprosy were losing their hands and feet, not from the disease itself, but from the disease destroying their nerves. He found that leprosy attacks mainly the nervous system. The resultant tissue damage occurs because the patient loses the warnings of pain — not because of inherent decay brought on by the disease. Dr. Brand discovered the gift of pain.

It is unusual to think of pain this way. It does not seem right that pain-deprived people inadvertently injure and destroy themselves. But it is a truth.

After reading about Dr. Brand and his research, I have not thought of pain in the same way. I still do not relish the thought of getting an injury or hurting myself, but now I know that pain can be looked at as good and truly as a gift from God.

Devotional by Jim Scudder, Jr.