PAIN BRINGS US TOGETHER

What is it that brings us all together in humanity? Fun and excitement to be sure, but what about pain, suffering, weakness and trials? We need to experience and express all emotions if we are to be human. But all these feelings run deep and so many are not pleasant. How much of any of this can we endure before we need help?

Some people endure pains (both emotional and physical) that escapes even the imagination of most people. PTSD, divorce, death, nerve pain, starvation and poverty. The human experience is replete with these life-experiences.

Pain, some have said, is “the megaphone of God”. It speaks to us at our most primal level and very often, it is the only voice we will listen to or receive instruction from towards anything good. 

Running away from pain or attempting to escape pain is as natural as breathing, but most of the time, pain is trying to teach us something important. Escaping pain prematurely then is unfortunate.

For some people this is not just an occasional trip but a daily or even minute by minute  flight. But running away is not the problem. It is where we run to for help and assistance. Far too many of us will escape to a bottle, or non-prescription drug. Some will become addicted to legal prescription drugs. There is a desperation to be freed from pain but so much of what we think will free us only acts as a strong man who takes us down to even greater depths of bondage and to the gates of utter hopelessness.

The Christian understands the presence of suffering and pain as:

1-A result of Adam’s sin. Death, pain and suffering followed his sin and infected us all.

2-Something that Jesus reminded his disciple of (and us) “You will always have the poor with you, but you won’t always have me.” Poverty, hunger, sin, suffering and devastation are all realities we must live with in this fallen world.

3-The second Adam, Jesus Christ, promises freedom to all who will follow, love and obey Him. He, His death and resurrection have already freed the ones who have/will become “born again” into His Kingdom. (Jonn 3) He has conquered sin and death. He died and lives for you and me.

WHERE WE FIND RELIEF 

Running TO places, people and things that offer hope beyond our circumstances means we can avoid the downward spiral to self-absorption.

We find help in the forms of medication, physical and emotional therapies with wonderful people in the medical community who serve as God’s hands and encouragement. And perhaps most important of all, we find a resolve to accept our lot and prognosis because we have entrusted our lives to someone who cares for us. 7 “God cares for you, so turn all your worries over to him.” assumes we all will have cares that include suffering and pain. This little verse also reminds us that God’s care is not a magical eradication of worry any more than healing for all who will “believe” if they just “have enough faith and send the correct amount of money”. (contrary to the seed-faith-healer-hucksters (White, Hinn, Osteen, Copeland, Murdock, etc.)

The bible does remind Christians to call on their elders when in trouble and sick. The act of faith calling on church leaders, the prayer offered in faith, the medicinal quality of the oil, the confession of, and forgiveness of sin–all these come together for the benefit of the individual. James 5:13-16 reads as follows:

“Is anyone among you suffering? Then he must pray. Is anyone cheerful? He is to sing praises. Is anyone among you sick? Then he must call for the elders of the church and they are to pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; and the prayer offered in faith will restore the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up, and if he has committed sins, they will be forgiven him. Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed.”

 

HUMILITY IS NEEDED 

 

“GOD WILL BE IN CONTROL FOREVER”

He does what only He can and will do, but we have our own work to do also.

Be humble in the presence of God’s mighty power, and he will honor you when the time comes. 

God cares for you, so turn all your worries over to him.

Be on your guard and stay awake. Your enemy, the devil, is like a roaring lion, sneaking around to find someone to attack. 

But you must resist the devil and stay strong in your faith. You know that all over the world the Lord’s followers are suffering just as you are. 

10 But God shows undeserved kindness to everyone. That’s why he appointed Christ Jesus to choose you to share in his eternal glory. You will suffer for a while, but God will make you complete, steady, strong, and firm. 

11 God will be in control forever! Amen.” I Peter 5:6-11

When we face our pain, suffering and eventual death, we find the scriptures to be enlightening and a bright encouragement. We learn to discern when our wounds and bruises are self inflicted and when they are a natural part of just existing, just being human. Honesty is required for understanding and accepting either result or both.

Suffering for Doing Right       I Peter 3:1-18

Give yourself away to the needs of others while in your own great need

POSITIVE STEPS THAT WE CAN DO RIGHT NOW (in bold)

Finally, all of you should agree and have concern and love for each other. You should also be kind and humble. 

Don’t be hateful and insult people just because they are hateful and insult you. Instead, treat everyone with kindness. You are God’s chosen ones, and he will bless you. The Scriptures say,

10 “Do you really love life? Do you want to be happy? Then stop saying cruel things and quit telling lies.

11 Give up your evil ways and do right, as you find and follow the road that leads
    to peace.

12 The Lord watches over everyone who obeys him, and he listens to their prayers.
But he opposes everyone who does evil.”

 

13 Can anyone really harm you for being eager to do good deeds? 

14 Even if you have to suffer for doing good things, God will bless you. So stop being afraid and don’t worry about what people might do. 

15 Honor Christ and let him be the Lord of your life. Always be ready to give an answer when someone asks you about your hope. 

16 Give a kind and respectful answer and keep your conscience clear. This way you will make people ashamed for saying bad things about your good conduct as a follower of Christ. 

17 You are better off to obey God and suffer for doing right than to suffer for doing wrong.

18 Christ died once for our sins. An innocent person died for those who are guilty.
Christ did this to bring you to God, when his body was put to death and his spirit
was made alive.

WE ALL NEED A SUPPORT SYSTEM

WE ALL NEED A FRIEND

There is a friend, “one who sticks closer to us than a brother.”

Jesus said, “Thomas, do you have faith because you have seen me?

The people who have faith in me without seeing me are the ones who are really blessed!”  John 20:29

 

Elisha Hoffman lived this sort of life-story in the late 1800’s. He became a Minister and found his heart caring for the down and out. On one occasion, he spoke to a woman who was in great pain and discouragement. He reminded her to tell Jesus about her problems. All the way home he remembered his words to her. The following Hymn text emerged.

I MUST TELL JESUS

“I must tell Jesus all of my trials

I cannot bear these burdens alone

In my distress He kindly will help me

He ever loves and cares for His own

 

I must tell Jesus, I must tell Jesus

I cannot bear these burdens alone

I must tell Jesus, I must tell Jesus

He ever loves and cares for His own.

 

I must tell Jesus all of my troubles

He is a kind compassionate friend

If I but ask Him, He will deliver

Make of my troubles, quickly an end

 

Tempted and tried I need a great Savior

One who can help my burdens to bear

I must tell Jesus, I must tell Jesus

He all my cares and sorrows will share.

 

O how the world to evil allures me

O how my heart is tempted to sin

I must tell Jesus and He will help me

Over the world, the vict’ry to win.”       Elisha Hoffman

 

“Now as my tears fall, now as my pride fails

I bow before one kindly and true

‘Promise to never leave or forsake me’

These are His words and what He will do.” (this stanza: Glenn Harrell)

If we follow the example of Christ (give your life for others good)

and the Word of God (immovable rock in times of trial)

and the encouragement of Elisha Hoffman, (be a life of ministry to others)

we may find more of our burdens lighter and our fears relieved.

THIS IS HOW PAIN BRINGS US ALL TOGETHER AND BECOMES A MASTER TEACHER WHO POINTS US TO CHRIST WHO SUFFERED FOR US AND TOLD ALL WHO WOULD FOLLOW HIM THAT THEY TOO MUST SUFFER.

While helping others, we are never alone.

When we “tell Jesus our trials and sorrows”,

do not be surprised when He sends us to others

whose great need exceeds our own. (gwh)

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