We used to have this electric cooker which had no way of indicating whether it was on or off unless you checked the socket. Mum had just finished cooking and was not sure whether she had put it off. If you have siblings, yet most (if not all) of the times you were the one who was always sent, you must have been told you were loved most. So as usual, mum sent me to the kitchen to check whether the cooker was off. I was short and couldn’t see whether the socket was on or off. In all my childlike wisdom, I slowly placed my hands on the cooker plates and was grateful to place my hands in a basin of water for the rest of the day. Though with no marks to show, I still remember the pain to this day. Life has slowly and assuredly taught me that pain is actually a part of life. The thing about pain, as it said in a book I once read, it demands to be felt. We first encounter it in the Bible in the garden of Eden after Adam and Eve had sinned. Genesis 3:16. To the woman He said,“I will greatly multiply your pain in childbirth, In pain you will bring forth children; Yet your desire will be for your husband, And he will rule over you.”
Each time we make a step of growth in life, then shedding off takes place and pain is felt. Like a butterfly breaking out of a cocoon, so are many stages in life. At childbirth, as we progress from the womb into the world, we shed off our source of nourishment: the umbilical cord and we begin to feed on milk through our mouths. We grow and teeth start pushing through the gum, another uncomfortable process and with these teeth we begin to eat meat and sweet foods. We learn how to crawl, fall and pick ourselves up and finally walk. We shed off the diapers and by this time we know how to talk and make proper sentences. Just when we had began to think that we are good to go, the teeth that grew begin to get loose at the gum and we have to go through a painful process of removing them one by one, allowing room for more teeth to grow. We mature: men shed off their foreskin through circumcision and women constantly have to shed off the lining of the womb and an ovum every month which sometimes is a very painful process. We get married, shed off our parents; break our virginity and again in pain women shed off their hymen and give birth. We grow old, begin to shed off hair, teeth, sight and our sense of hearing. We then die, having accomplished the purpose for which we lived.
Shedding off and pain are growth processes. They bring in a newness; a new experience. In this new experience, we begin to experience more complex and exciting things in life. We grow in wisdom. Just like in the physical, even spiritually, we only begin to feed on solid food when we are grown up in the word and knowledge of God: 1 Peter 2:2 like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation. Then as it continues in Hebrews 5:14 But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil. We only begin to experience new challenges through growth, pain and shedding off. We sometimes have to shed off friends, people and things we love. Do not fret dear one, it is only a point of growth. Shed off and endure the pain that comes along, not because it is good but because it is necessary. Sometimes, it is out of our deepest pain that the true conviction, of the peace, love and presence of God, is experienced.