DEVOTIONAL: We all live with pain

Published 8:56 pm Saturday, October 8, 2022

4 “The roads to Zion mourn, for no one comes to the festivals; all her gates are desolate, her priests groan; her young girls grieve, and her lot is bitter. 5 Her foes have become the masters, her enemies prosper, because the LORD has made her suffer for the multitude of her transgressions; her children have gone away, captives before the foe.”

Pain is something that we all live with, at least one time or another. Pain comes in many varieties; emotional, psychological and plain old physical, to name a few. Pain can be a good thing when it reminds us of that which we should be leery. Hot stoves and plates, lifting too much and being careless with sharp objects. All things that we sometimes inflict on ourselves and yet, we too often forget. Pain reminds us repeatedly to slow down, not to overdo, or even to not do some things at all.

In the book of Lamentations, the prophet Jeremiah laments over the pain that the people of Israel are feeling. Their country has been overrun. The Temple of God, the place that the Israelites knew to be God’s home, was destroyed. Their brightest and best have been taken to a faraway kingdom where they feel they must learn to be away from their God.

They are lamenting those who have died, and at the same time feeling God’s absence in their lives. Jeremiah sees that by their actions they had turned their back on God, and that now God has allowed a lot of pain to happen. Sometimes, pain is a very difficult teacher.

However, as C.S. Lewis writes in his book, The Problem of Pain, “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks to us in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is a megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” The life of Jesus is the perfect example of God shouting out to us, reaching out to us, and embracing us in all of our pains.

God, the great healer, sometimes allows many types of pain to happen to God’s people so that they can feel the deep need for the loving embrace of God. An embrace that soothes and helps us to find a balm for all of our pains, whether self-inflicted or just a result of a world marred by sin.

So, in our difficult times, let us lean into God’s embrace!

Keith Leach is Pastor of College Church and College Chaplain at Hampden-Sydney College. He delivers a weekly devotional for The Farmville Herald and can be reached at kleach@hsc.edu.