Tuesday, October 6, 2015

what to do with your pain

Today's readings: Jeremiah 4:19-6:15, Colossians 1:18-2:7, Psalm 77:1-20, Proverbs 24:23-25

Pain. We all experience it from time to time. Some of us live with it on a daily basis. It's not a pleasant thing. But it's part of life.

Pain is difficult to bear for a few reasons. It seems senseless. Why am I hurting? What purpose does this serve? It's scary... is this going to get worse? What's wrong with me? It's the unknown, which is the scariest of all.

Sometimes pain is physical, sometimes it's emotional or mental. We're betrayed by someone we love. Our plans fall through and we're left scared and alone.

But the reading for today has a very profound verse that speaks to our pain. In verse 24, Paul says, "I am glad when I suffer for you in my body, for I am participating in the sufferings of Christ that continue for his body, the church."

There is so much here in this verse. First, it says that Jesus continues to suffer with us. He is no stranger to our pain. It is NOT meaningless. It has a very deep and profound meaning - it connects us with Jesus. It's not unknown... He knows it through and through, for what it is. He knows where it came from and where it's going. He knows what it is to be betrayed. He knows what it is to SEEM like all the plans came to nothing, and being left alone and scared. He hung on a cross, all of His disciples abandoning Him, and cried out "My God, why have YOU forsaken me??"

He knows your pain. And in a way that is what we call a mystery in the church, because it defies explanation, your pain is IDENTIFIED with His pain. You participate in His suffering. You suffer WITH Him. That takes away the meaninglessness, doesn't it? It takes away the unknown factor. It takes away the loneliness. You're NOT suffering alone. You're suffering with Him.

It takes away the power of pain.

And it gives us hope.

Because we know how the story turns out. Jesus doesn't end up lonely and alone. He rises from the dead. He defeats death. He is the FIRST to inherit eternal life. But not the last. We inherit this eternal life with Him. We have that to look forward to.

Thank You, God, for identifying with our pain. For taking away the meaninglessness and the fear, and replacing it with your hope and your love.