Song Snapshots #37: When It Hurts So Bad I Call the Great Physician (Original Couriers)

Song Snapshots is a column featuring the stories behind new and classic Southern Gospel songs.

On their final recording, the original Couriers (Dave Kyllonen, Duane Nicholson, and Neil Enloe) recorded a new song written by Neil Enloe, “When it Hurts So Bad.”

To understand the song, Enloe recalls, you have to understand where he comes from: “I was raised in classic Pentecostalism; very, very, conservative, none of that holy roller stuff. I never saw anyone roll. I never saw anyone very holy, actually.”

“Along with other churches in the area,” he continues, “our church would sponsor a tent meeting every summer. We were bringing these healing evangelists, and they would pray for people. They’d have a ramp going up one side, the evangelist at the top, and then the ramp going down the other side.

“When someone got healed, everyone’s glorifying God, and it was really great. But I always felt bad for the ones that went down the other side, not getting anything. It always bothered me.”

One day, he realized that “there is a better healing than just having the pain go away. Paul calls it the fellowship of His suffering. And I think that pain, in and of itself, gives you a little more insight into what Jesus went through in our behalf.”

This inspired the line “When it hurts so bad I call the Great Physician.” The song’s narrator never ends up getting healed; “the actual punch line,” Enloe shares, is, “I can always count on Him to gently lift me upward, and I rise above my pain and misery.”

“I believe in healing,” he clarifies. “But the song doesn’t promise healing. I’m not going to say, ”Tis Done.'”