“Joshua fell and hurt is arm.” Those are the words I heard letting me know that my evening plans were about to change. As we sped to the hospital to meet up with our youngest son who had been spending time with friends, the rest of the story began to unfold.  Through a series of calls and texts we learned that Joshua had fallen from monkey bars landing on his arm and leaving him with an arm that he described as “twisted”.

When he arrived at the ER I carefully carried him in as any jostling of the arm caused severe pain. The ER staff tended to him with great skill and the x-ray confirmed what we already knew, his arm was badly broken just below the wrist. Radius and ulna were both fractured and displaced in an awkward and painful manner. By this time it was after 9:00 on a Sunday night. The x-rays were sent to the orthopedic doctor on call who determined that the arm would require surgery. The next available appointment was Tuesday morning. As we considered how we would handle the 36 hours of pain and waiting, the staff administered stronger pain medication in an attempt to control the pain. Their efforts, however, failed to produce the desired relief and Joshua continued to sob in pain. “Why is this happening to me?” “This is soooo excruciating!”

It was only after the fact that we realized that his pain was an answer to prayer and the impetus for the solution to his problem.

Due to the severity of his pain, the ER staff didn’t feel good about releasing him. So at 10:00 p.m. on a Sunday night they called the orthopedic doctor on call and asked him to come in and attempt a reduction on the arm. The staff assured us that if anyone could possibly set this arm Dr. Hutchinson could. Shortly after he arrived at the ER, they sedated Joshua and began work on his arm. After 25 minutes they let us back in the room. His arm was in a cast and he was still asleep from the anesthesia. Joshua woke 30 minutes later and we were eventually discharged at 1:00 a.m.

The next morning we pointed out to Joshua that his severe pain was what led the doctor to attempt something not ordinarily done. He was delivered from future pain by current pain.  And therein is a lesson for us all: is it possible that the current pain you are experiencing will deliver from future pain not yet known? Or is it the case that you need to do something difficult now to avoid the pain of defeat or regret at some later time?

Perhaps the pain in your life is actually what’s required to bring you closer to your goals.