Whatever your religious beliefs, do pain and suffering somehow make you a better person? Is a bone, or a heart, or a soul, made stronger by a break? Maybe. But an innocent baby shouldn't have to suffer before it qualifies for heaven, should it? The baby is a beloved child of God. I’m no baby – I’m 59 years old. Does my pain mean that I am, by contrast, an evil person, deserving of punishment?
Maybe. But I no longer believe in the redemptive value of pain.
All I can personally witness to is the destructive power of pain, its ability to rob you of independent functioning, self-respect, peace of mind. Swallowing my pain is swallowing a very bitter pill indeed. Mary Poppins sang that "a spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down." If I must have this pain, why can't I have a spoonful of sugar to go with it?