From the Pastor’s Heart
Jesus and Pain
The fact that Jesus came to earth where he suffered and died does not remove pain from our lives. But it does show that GOD did not sit idly by and watch us suffer in isolation. GOD became one of us. Thus, in Jesus, God gives an up-close and personal look at the divine response to human suffering. All our questions about GOD and suffering should, in fact, be filtered through what we know about Jesus.
How did GOD-on-earth respond to pain? When he met a person in pain, he was deeply moved with compassion (from the Latin words pati and cum, “to suffer with”). Not once did Jesus say, “Endure your hunger!” or “Swallow your grief!” Very often, every time he was asked directly, he healed the pain. Sometimes he broke deep-rooted customs to do so, as when he touched a woman with a haemorrhage of blood, or when he touched outcasts, ignoring their cries of “Unclean!”
The pattern of Jesus’ response should convince us that GOD is not a GOD who enjoys seeing us suffer. I doubt that Jesus’ disciples tormented themselves with questions like “Does GOD care?” They had visible evidence of GOD’s concern every day: they simply had to look at Jesus’ face.
And when Jesus himself faced suffering, he reacted much as any of us would. He recoiled from it, asking three times if there was any other way.
There was no other way, and then Jesus experienced, perhaps for the first time, that most human sense of abandonment. In the Gospel accounts of Jesus’ last night on earth, there is a strong sense of a fierce struggle with fear, helplessness, and hope – the same frontiers all of us confront in our suffering.
The record of Jesus’ life on earth should forever comfort us in the most difficult question of “How does GOD feel about our pain?” In reply, GOD did not give us words or theories on the problem of pain. GOD gave us himself. A philosophy may explain difficult things, but has no power to change them. The gospel, the story of Jesus’ life and GOD’s Faithfulness gives us a deep hope for a promised change…
Taken from: Where is God when it Hurts? (225-6), Author: Philip Yancey