This happened to me this week. Tuesday morning I woke up feeling great with several plans to work on several house-related projects during the next three days. By Tuesday afternoon my throat was scratchy and my head clogged up. I suspected it was just irritation from the substance I was using to strip a floor. As the day continued on, I realized there was more than vapors to my deteriorating condition.
By bedtime my ears and throat were on fire. Remembering that my last bout with the flu started like this, I waited throughout the night for the onset of body racking chills and fever. But they never came. What did come was a hideous discharge from my sinuses (I won't do the nurse-thing and give you a clinical description. The combination of the words "hideous" and "discharge" should suffice.) Somewhere along the way a tiny -- microscopic even-- organism had entered my nasal passages and settled down for a visit in my sinuses.
I was skeptical when the Nurse Practitioner who examined me told me it would take 24, maybe even 48 hours before I felt better. Surely this exploding feeling in my head would dissipate with the first dose of antibiotics. No, she was right. I spent a painful night trying this (hot-packs) and that (ice-packs) on my head and everything I could think of (Tylenol, decongestants, nasal spray) to try to make the pounding, pressing, throbbing pain go away. I tried sleeping sitting up (I mastered that skill after my tonsillectomy,) but I found no relief.
Then I believe the Lord popped some inspiration into my pain-racked head. How many people must I know of who are also in pain right now? My mind filled with the people we often pray for in our Sunday Bible Study. . .the young boy facing chemo treatments, the family hurting from the loss of a wife and mother, the firefighter with the chronic back injury. My thoughts flew to all those we see each week in our Nursing Home services. There were so many who are hurting and in pain, and unlike me (who feels better at this writing,) they may have little or no hope of ever feeling any relief.
I don't know about you, but when I am in pain the great temptation is to be totally centered upon my own self. Or more specifically, upon whatever part is hurting. But I am reminded that when our Lord was upon the cross, except to fulfill Scripture, He spoke not of His own pain. Instead His words were for others, even though the simplest word created even more pain for Him. He make provision for His mother, and the youngest disciple. He interceded for those who were nailing the nails into His hands and feet, asking the Father for forgiveness for them. He proclaimed redemption for the thief who had turned to belief in Him. His words were for those around Him, not for Himself.
When we are in pain, either of the body or the soul, we do well to turn our thoughts away from ourselves and to others who may benefit so much more from our prayers than we do our self-absorption. As Christians we are one body, and how great must be the comfort manifested when one member prays for another out of their own pain!