2001-09-28 - God Cares About Our Pain
Encore from 97-07-25
Mat 5:4 (NRSV) Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
We all suffer grief. Sometimes it's the excruciating pain of losing someone we are very close to, whether through death, a move or a loss of the relationship. Sometimes it's a change in a relationship. It might be a job loss, the loss of a pet, or a failure of some sort, which is the death of a dream. Whatever our pain, we need to remember three facts:
God can bring us through it and even make something beautiful out of it.
God empathizes with our pain. His own Son, Jesus -- Who is God -- suffered grief. I think readily of one example.
John 11:33-35 (NRSV) When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her also weeping, he was greatly disturbed in spirit and deeply moved. He said, "Where have you laid him?" They said to him, "Lord, come and see. Jesus began to weep. So the Jews said, "See how he loved him!"
Of all people, Jesus certainly knew about Heaven. He knew that Lazarus wasn't suffering. But He also knew that it hurt to lose him. Even though we know someone is suffering less, or something is for the best, God doesn't expect us to just act like nothing has happened, or to say "Well He is with Jesus, praise God," and go happily on our way. It is good l to keep an eternal perspective. However, God has built grief into us as a normal emotion, and we need to allow ourselves to feel it and work through it.
God cares about our pain. He knows everything, including our emotions, but He wants to hear from us.
Psa 62:8 (NRSV) Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us. He wants us to pour out our hearts to Him. He wants to hear our hurts. He isn't an aloof God who distances Himself from what we are going through. He is a loving God, a Shepherd, a Father. Those of you who are parents -- think about how you feel for your children when they are grieving, over a friend who has moved, beloved pet who has been killed. And our Heavenly Father loves us even more than we love our children. Imagine how much more than that even, He cares for us in our griefs!
But the ultimate perspective we have does need to take into account eternity, God's glory and His purpose even now. Eventually the pain will subside. Usually it goes away completely while we are still here on Earth. And we often find God has taught us valuable lessons from it. I think of two valuable insights I have gained through pains I have encountered:
I can now better understand others' pain. When we are hurting, as well as afterwards, we need to ask God to use this for His glory and to help his other children.
2 Cor 1:4 (NIV) who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.
I cherish the relationships that I have now. I realize how short life can be, and that we need to tell people now how much we appreciate them. We need to take time for the family and friends God has blessed us with.
Dear Lord, we thank You for showing us that You care and that You can bring good out of everything. When we are mourning, help us to turn to You and to remember that it will get better. And use us and teach us through our grief. In Jesus' name, amen.