Lenten Devotional – Day 35 – Pain
All of us at some point or another in our lives have experienced great hurt, great pain and great sorrow. As much as we would like to be, we are not immune from pain and grief. I met a young boy who experienced this pain and grief firsthand.
At the age of 18 or so, he lost his mother due to complications from HIV/AIDS. You see, as a child, he and his sister lived in the ghettos. There were often nights when there was not a whole lot of food to go around. And because his mother was an illiterate, uneducated woman, she could not maintain a job. So to provide for him and his sister, his mother turned to prostitution; to ease her broken heart and numb the hurt, she turned to crack cocaine.
As a young adult this young man often wondered where God was in all of the pain and heartache. There were times that he even cursed the name of God. He did not deserve to have a mother who was strung out. There were times he even wondered if I had done something to upset God. He said his prayers, He was kind, and He did all those good Christian things; yet his family life was awful.
I am certain that many of us have faced some of the similar problems. Maybe you are like this young man in that you have prayed and yet, the health problems that plagued us before are still present. Though you prayed and prayed, the financial difficulties did not end. Perhaps you have tried and tried and prayed and prayed and done all the good Christian things to mend that estranged relationship, but it was not mended. And no matter how many times you have attended that healing service and sought the best medical treatment, your loved one is still ill.
The writer of Lamentations must have felt the same way. Imagine that these words were written today. Many of us can reflect the words, “[I have] no one to comfort [me].” Some of us have been sad for so long that we have forgotten what happiness is. The writer of Lamentations is encountering a season just as this and has forgotten what happiness is; his expectation about God has been crushed.
My friends, if we are not careful, we can find ourselves in these dark valleys of life, unable to move because of fear. We can be down so long that it has become comfortable, and we don’t have the courage to get up. We can be in the dark so long that the light feels like daggers. If we aren’t careful, our anger calcifies into bitterness and ferments.
It is most helpful in times of pain to remember the words of Lamentations 3:20-24, “But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” This will help us realize that God is with us even in the midst of what we are going through.
St. Paul said, “We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed.” Even though life has presented us with unforeseen challenges, God is walking right beside us. It is because God is with us that we can have HOPE!
Prayer: Oh God, you have promised that you would never leave us or forsake us. Come, oh God of grace, and fulfill that promise. Give me and those I love that peace which surpasses all understanding. Amen.