Rashi quotes Reb Chama B”R Chaninna (Babba Mitziya 86/b) that Hashem came to Avrohom on the third day of his Milah to see how he was feeling. The Meforshim ask where is there even a slight allusion in the Parsha that this happened on the third day and not the first, second, or tenth day.
To answer this question the Zera Shimshon asks another question, “Why did Hashem only come to visit Avrohom and not the rest of the people who also circumcised themselves with Avrohom?”
He answers in light of the Gemoro in Babba Basra that Avrohom wore around his neck a special stone that had the power to immediately heal anyone who looked at it. According to this, explains the Zera Shimshon, all of the other people who circumcised themselves with Avrohom looked at the stone and immediately were healed. By the time Hashem came they were all better and therefore there was no need to visit them.
Avrohom, on the other hand, didn’t want to go this route. Chazal teach us, לפום צערא אגרא “according to the pain so is the reward”. Avrohom was totally focused on the Word to Come and he didn’t want to lose any potential reward.
Another reason that he didn’t heal himself on the first day is that he knew that the commandment to circumcise himself was a test to see if he was totally obedient to Hashem will. If he healed himself right away, people would say that he listened to Hashem and circumcised himself because he knew that it really wasn’t dangerous since he knew how to cure himself! (Would it be a big deal if Houdini was put in a box underwater with an oxygen tank?) He therefore opted to “sit tight” and wait for the circumcision to naturally get better.
According to this, the first question is also answered. If Hashem came on the first or second day after the Milah people would say that Avrohom healed himself by looking at the stone. Therefore Hashem waited to visit him on the day that he would naturally need to be visited.
We can understand another reason for Avrohom not looking to lessen his pain in light of the Missilas Yesharim’s (chapter 19) description of someone who truly loves Hashem, “…. The more deterrents that cross their path (the people who truly love Hashem)…the more will their hearts fortify themselves and rejoice to show the strength of their faith, just as a military leader, who is famous for his strength will always throw himself into the heart of the battle, where a victory will serve all the more to reveal his prowess.
It is common that every lover of flesh and blood rejoices in a situation that he can show how far his love goes.
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