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The typical American response to pain is to take an aspirin at the slightest ache and silence the pain. That approach only deals with the symptom of the problem. We dare not shut off the warning system without first listening to the warning.

A tragic example of someone not heeding the warning occurred in an NBA basketball game in which a star player, Bob Gross, wanted to play despite a badly injured ankle. Knowing that Gross was needed for the important game, the team doctor injected Marcaine, a strong painkiller, into three different places of his foot.

Gross did start the game, but after a few minutes, as he was battling for a rebound, a loud snap! could be heard throughout the arena. Gross, oblivious, ran up and down the court two times, then crumpled to the floor. Although he felt no pain, a bone had broken in his ankle. By overriding pain’s warning system with the anesthetic, the doctor caused permanent damage to Gross’s foot and ended his basketball career.

Philip Yancey, Where Is God When It Hurts? (p. 34). Zondervan.

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