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Pain

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And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. (Romans 8:17)

Pain and suffering are inevitable. As long as we are alive on this earth we will encounter pain. Most people do not like suffering nor do we like pain. There are some that inflict pain because their wounds are so deep they have become numb to the pain and desire to feel again. For others the pain is so intense they cannot find their way to solitude.

More often than not we avoid the things we don’t understand. We run from them or cover them up with a band aid, praying they will never resurface again. Finding a place of refuge and healing is vital to our survival. We will each develop our own coping skills to help us deal with the pain. Many have been taught or have developed ineffective coping skills. These ways of coping lead them down the road of addictions to food, drugs, illicit physical activity, alcohol, abusive relationships, isolation and anxious behaviors, just to name a few.

God robed Himself in flesh so He could identify with our humanity. In our deepest pain, we should cry out to the One who not only desires to help us, but also the One who is also able to bring about the changes in us that might not happen any other way. In this process, we learn that we cannot take responsibility for another, for they must choose for themselves. We can give them the information they need to make an educated choice but in the end it is up to them to choose. We can only take responsibility for how we ourselves respond.

Most of our pain comes from relationships with others as does our greatest joy. Through these “relationship hurts”, God is able to give us a glimpse of His heart and teach us about ourselves and the roots that are buried deep within that need His attention. Through Spirit and Truth we are opened up and God’s healing begins to surface. He goes deep down in those places that no one else can see. What God sees is much deeper and He goes to the root of our pain. What others see is the effects or manifestations of that pain.

It is in those deep places God can bring about change that would not happen any other way.

BY LINDA BROWN

Then Pilate therefore took Jesus, and scourged him. John 19:1.

This scripture is only 8 words long, but it holds a painful story.

Crucifixion was a torturous death, but prior to Jesus being nailed to a cross to atone for your sins (and mine), He suffered agonizing pain by being scourged. Scourging is so severe that it could be fatal. It was more than just physical torment, but it was the debasement of character with the intent to belittle and demean an individual.

When John 19:1 says, “and scourged him,” it is telling us a deeper story. It is telling us the story of Jesus being whipped with leather strands that were weighted with lead, equipped with shards of glass, and pieces of bone. Scourging was intended to lacerate the skin, exposing muscle and torn bleeding tissue.

This intense beating would have left Jesus, our Savior, our King, our Redeemer, in unfathomable pain and near the point of death. Every time Jesus was whipped, it was for someone else’s mistakes, someone else’s sins, and someone else’s lies. Mine. Yours. Ours.

 And the soldiers platted a crown of thorns, and put it on his head, and they put on him a purple robe. And said, Hail, King of the Jews: and they smote him with their hands. John 19:2–3.

Near death and in agonizing pain, Jesus is crowned with thorns, clothed in a purple robe and given a rod in place of a sceptre, which was then used as an instrument to beat Him with (Mark 15:19).

It was at this time Jesus stood up and was given His cross to bear.

Jesus had already endured so much. How could He endure more?

The rough, heavy beam, gouged into His open wounds as He began to walk a long road to Mount Calvary, where He endured even more torture and pain to bear the sins of the whole world.

John 15:13 explains it best, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his live for his friends.”

Prayer: Lord, I cannot comprehend Your love for me. You are the King of the whole earth, and yet, You robed your deity in flesh, to die a criminal’s execution. Thank you for enduring pain that I will never feel, for paying sin’s price that I could never afford, and for walking a road that I would not have been able to walk. Thank you for all the times I haven’t said thank you.

I was worshiping at the altar that Sunday morning when I heard a deep, heartfelt weeping coming from a few rows back. “I have cried exactly like that before,” I thought to myself. “I know that cry comes from a pain deep within the heart.”

It made me think of a time in my life when I had fallen in a crumpled heap at the bottom of a pit full of unbearable pain and sorrow. I remembered how I had cried out to God that even though I could not feel Him near, I knew He was near. I remembered the words from Hebrews 13:5, “I will never leave you or forsake you.” I was reminded that “The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in the spirit” (Psalm 34:18). I began to worship God from that place of deep sorrow. “Lord, I know You are here, even though I can’t feel You near. I believe You are with me. I know You will not abandon me even though my husband of twenty years has.”

Instantly, before I could even get the words out, I felt the unmistakable presence of the Holy Spirit. I felt a joy rise within my heart, a joy that can’t be found anywhere in this world. And though my situation did not change in that instant, and I was still overcome with grief and sorrow, God was near. He was by my side. He would see me through this most difficult trial of my life so far.

I left the altar and headed back to my seat. The woman was still weeping loudly. She was being embraced and comforted by other women around her. I stopped and began to pray. I felt her pain. I also felt a holy excitement as I knew God undoubtedly was bringing healing to her broken heart. She was a woman who was recently widowed after being married only three months. She had been so brave the last several weeks as she faithfully continued to attend services. When asked by others how she was faring, she stoically answered that she was doing fine.

I have often compared my divorce to being widowed. I abruptly lost my husband one day. Even though there had been marital problems for years, I had prayed, fasted, sought godly counsel, and did everything humanly possible to save the marriage. So I should not have been shocked when it happened, but it knocked the wind out of me when my biggest fear came to pass. After it happened, I put on a brave face. After all, I had to be strong for my children and keep myself together with all the added responsibilities of being a newly single mother.

But there comes a time when God says to us, “My child, you cannot go on without bringing that hurt and grief to the surface where you can be healed.” It’s a scary feeling to let it go. It might hurt too much to allow that pain out. It seems like it would be safer to keep it buried and hidden away. But it will find its way out, one way or another.

With God, we are safe to open up to Him and present our every fear and pain to Him. We can put it into His sure hands, knowing that He is right there with us. When we allow Him access to our broken hearts, that is when true healing to our wounds begins to take place.

“He heals the broken hearted and binds up their wounds” (Psalm 147:3, NKJV).

 

by Mary Jo McConnell