In the Bible, Mark 5:24–34 (NLT) tells the story of a woman who had “suffered a great deal” for 12 years because of a bleeding disorder. Seeing Jesus, she thought, “If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.”
Hidden by the crowd, she reached out, touched Jesus’ cloak, and “immediately her bleeding stopped.” Jesus turned around and asked, “Who touched my clothes?” No one came forward. “But Jesus kept looking around to see who had done it.” Afraid she would be admonished for touching Jesus while unclean, “the woman . . . came and fell at his feet and, trembling with fear, told him the whole truth.” Jesus responded, “Daughter, your faith has healed you.” Jesus sensed this individual woman’s touch and was interested in knowing about her.
Don’t let your pain isolate you from those who can emotionally and spiritually support you. Reach out to God and others.
Rick Warren is well known for his church leadership and success in the US. But nothing prepared him for the news that his 27-year-old son Matthew had committed suicide. He had struggled with depression. It was terrible news, and Warren and his wife experienced great suffering, grief and inner pain as you would expect. And yet here’s what he said to his congregation:
“Our deepest life message often comes out of our deepest pain,” he said. “I can endure pain if I see a purpose in it. But sadly, most people squander their suffering, don’t profit from their problems, never learn from their losses and are unable to advance from their adversity or gain from their pain. God didn’t spare Jesus, His only Son from pain; what makes you think He will spare you?” he added.
“The secret of every winner, whether in business, sport, love, finance or relationships, is resilience – the ability to bounce back from setbacks or failure . Winners have the same problems losers do, but they get back up while losers stay down. The secret to a person’s resilience is perspective. “Don’t waste your pain, let God heal it, recycle it, utilise it and use it to bless other people,” he said.
“Use your pain as a model for your message and a witness to the world. But to touch other people, you need to be honest – with God, yourself and others – and you need to be vulnerable. The fellowship of suffering is the deepest of all,” he said. “Odds aren’t good for a couple who loses a child, as nearly one-third of these marriages end in divorce. But Kay and I give each other a lot of grace, are closer today since Matthew’s death, and I am more in love with my wife than ever before.”
Psalm 34:18 (NLT) has some wonderful words if you’re going through pain today:
The LORD is close to the brokenhearted;
he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.
God Understands Your Pain
Remember that God understands and relates to the pain you are experiencing. Tell him your story.
We read in Matthew 26:38-39 (NIV):
Then he [Jesus] said to them [the disciples], ‘My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.’
Going a little further, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, ‘My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.’
Here in this account, Jesus was speaking to his disciples in the Garden of Gethsemane. Jesus knew that he would soon be taken by Roman soldiers, be put on trial, and experience a painful death by crucifixion. In Jesus’ words, we see the extreme emotional and relational pain he was suffering. He speaks of his sorrow being so severe that it felt as though he would die from it.
Jesus’ rejection by those whom he created and cared for caused him anguish. He knew all about the impending physical pain he would experience in the crucifixion process. Yet because of his love for us, he did it all anyway. He took our sins upon himself and died on the cross, so that he could be resurrected and create an avenue for our salvation.
In his life, Jesus underwent all basic human experiences; he hungered, he thirsted, he wept, and he suffered more than any of us can imagine. Through the person of Jesus, God understands our pain and suffering very personally, and he wants to comfort us.