FORT BENNING, Ga. (June 22, 2018) -- In this week's Chaplain's Corner, Chaplain (Maj.) Eric Park, 199th Infantry Brigade, talks about staying mindful of when we're enduring spiritual, emotional or psychological pain.

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Almost a year ago, I wrote a devotion about the "hidden arthritic areas" of our lives. I wanted to revisit this topic because, as a chaplain, I have been ministering to countless Soldiers and their Families, who appear to be going through a season peppered with spiritual soreness. It's different for everyone and it has varying degrees of discomfort, pain and in some instances, great suffering and turmoil.

As I described a year ago, the reason why I called this our "hidden arthritic area" is that most of us have a form or progressing or developing area of soreness and pain and we choose to continue to ignore it. We've become so accustomed to living in pain that we expect and accept the pain, ignoring the fact that there's some real wear and tear going on that we need to start addressing.

Pain will happen and it does without fail, and we all know it's always a matter of when not if. I also know that many people believe that pain won't ruin our lives, but the truth is it can when left untreated indefinitely. Pain is the signal we're given to alert us to something that is not right within us. The pain doesn't cause ruin, the ignoring of it does.

Many of us are living with chronic pain in our hearts, minds and souls, as well as our bodies. We seem to be addicted to the pain because we live out our lives in denial of the pain, wanting it to stop but refusing to seek a diagnosis and treat the cause of that pain. We also keep it secret, hiding it from others, all the while the agony and the burden of it telegraphs through us, in spite of all efforts to hide it. Perhaps it's because of fear or pride, but the truth that we all must acknowledge is that pain is there and it is affecting us emotionally, physically, psychologically and spiritually.

Psalm 147:3-5 says, "He (God) heals the brokenhearted and bandages their wounds. He counts the stars and names each one. Our Lord is great and very powerful. There is no limit to what He knows."

Today I'd like all of us to remind ourselves that what is ultimately broken and hurting within us is known to the One who created us, called us to a greater purpose and unconditionally loves us. We were never promised freedom from pain; in fact we were actually promised that we would experience pain! But we were also promised that God, in all grace, mercy and compassion, would never forsake us and give us His all-surpassing peace and comfort.

Before the sun sets on another day or another season comes and goes, I hope that we will all take a moment and think about how long you've been hurting and not allowing the healer to treat and heal us. Someday, for some of us, our physical arthritic joints may need to be replaced. Our lives however, can never be replaced.

Psalm 41:2-3 also says, "He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds."

Whatever is at the root of your hurt, be encouraged and know that there is a God that knows, that cares, that is available, and who will heal and restore. Whatever is your hidden pain, your "hidden arthritic area," please don't suffer endlessly. Reach out, seek the presence of God the Healer and seek someone who you know and trust. Know that there are those who also know, care and are available to help you find the restoration and healing you need. Because to all of us and our loved ones, our lives, and their lives, are irreplaceable.

For God and Country.

Chaplain (Maj.) Eric Park
199th Infantry Brigade
Fort Benning, Georgia