Does God Feel Our Pain ?
I’m sure that the people of La, and Miss. have been on your mind this wk as they have mine. Yet, how can we possibly feel their pain. No matter how hard I try, I can’t imagine what those people have gone through, and are going through. One of the saddest stories that I have heard in the aftermath of the storm was the man who tried to cling to his wife, but couldn’t......and as his wife slipped away from his grasp.......she told him to take care of the kids ! The only way that I can genuinely feel that man’s pain is by being him. How then can God possibly know our suffering ? How can God genuinely feel our pain ?
Story: I once read about a King who really wanted to know his people, and feel what they felt. And so, he laid aside his royal robes put on some old work clothes, left his palace behind, and went and lived among the people !
This is how God is able to feel our pain. Our text tells us that Christ became lower than the angels........he became a man so that he might experience the suffering of humanity. Because he became a man he can be touched with the feelings of our infirmities(disease, sickness, weakness)
In the gospel of John 1......John describes how Jesus became a man.........."He became flesh, and dwelt among us !"
Hebrews 2:18 tells us in that he himself suffered temptation, he is able to succor(help) them that are tempted.
The prophet Isaiah wrote of Christ several hundred years before his birth, and describes him with these words......"He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: (malady, anxiety, calamity)
In describing how God became a man Dorothy Sayers writes in her book "Christian Letters To A Post-Christian World"
"The God who gave us the dignity of freedom of choice now takes upon himself the consequences of our wrong choices.
For whatever reason God chose to make people as they are - limited and suffering and subject to sorrows and death - he had the honesty and courage to take his own medicine. Whatever game he is playing with his creation, he has kept his own rules and played fair. He can exact nothing from us that he has not exacted from himself. He has himself gone through the whole human experience, from the trivial irritations of family life and the cramping restrictions of hard work and lack of money to the worst horrors of pain and humiliation, defeat, despair, and death. When he was man, he played the man. He was born in poverty and died in disgrace and thought it all worthwhile.
Standing somewhere in the shadows you’ll find Jesus;
He’s a friend who always cares and understands;
Standing somewhere in the shadows you will find him,
And you’ll know him by the nail prints in his hands.
During President Ronald Reagan’s presidential campaign in 1979, a woman of about 80 spoke out from the audience at the end of one of his campaign speeches. "Mr. Reagan, everything you’ve said sounds just fine. But what about the old folks? Haven’t you forgotten us?" The man who was to become the oldest president of the United States smiled down at her and replied, "Forget you? Heavens, how could I ever forget you? I am one of you."
Does God know our pain ? Yes he does because he became one of us !
Not only does he know our pain, but he experienced our pain first hand. If you look for Christ in the N.T. during his life, you will always find him among the hurting, the sick, the deprived, the destitute.......you will find him not where the pleasure is, but where the pain is.......you’ll find him at the side of lepers, and the lame.
Does God know our pain.......yes because............
I. You Will Find God In The Storms !
Several of the disciples were fisherman, they had much experience with storms......yet Matt 14 describes a time when the disciples were out on the Sea of Galilee when a storm arose......the ship was tossed by the waves, and the wind. The disciples were horrified. They had never before experienced such a storm.......but in the early hours of the morning........Christ came to them walking on the water !
Lisa Goertz was a Jewish lady who lost most of her family in the Nazi holocaust, including her mother, husband, brother, son and daughter. At one point, when 16 members of her family had disappeared, she decided to end it all. In her book, I Stepped into Freedom, she tells what happened:
I walked out into the night, feeble with hunger, half crazy with fear and fatigue, and made my way down to the river Neisse. In a few hours all would be over, I told myself. What a relief! And there it happened. Across the dark river I saw the Cross and Jesus Christ on it. His face was not the face of a victor; it was the face of a fellow-sufferer, full of love and understanding and compassion. We gazed at each other, both of us Jews, and then the vision disappeared.
For Lisa this was the beginning of the road that led to faith and personal healing.
Why does God allow storms ? Why suffering ? Could it be because it is in the storms that we see him.......that we find him........that we cry out to him.........that we depend upon him.
It has been my experience that it is during the storms that I look for God the most........that I pray the most......and it is also the time when I sense his presence the most.
Though their have been times in my life when I have questioned the very existence of God, he has never once failed to come to me.
No matter what kind of situation you find yourself in......what you might be going through or facing......you will find God in the storm.....he will come to you !
II. You Will Find God Among The Suffering !
Mat 9:35-36 And when Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people. But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd.
It has often been in hospitals where I have sensed God’s presence the greatest, and seen him at work ! This wk I visited a man in the hospital.......he had lost one leg to diabetes, was suffering from congestive heart failure, and kidney failure.......but I saw God in the face of that man. I sensed his peace.
Jesus spent time in the temple.....but he spent a large amount of his time out in the streets, and on the hillsides with people who were suffering. He sensed their pain, and was moved with compassion as he saw them suffer !
Listen to his words in Matt 9:12 They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick.
"Tomorrow morning," the surgeon began, "I’ll open up your heart..." "You’ll find Jesus there," the boy interrupted.
The surgeon looked up, annoyed. "I’ll cut your heart open," he continued, "to see how much damage has been done..."
"But when you open up my heart, you’ll find Jesus in there."
The surgeon looked to the parents, who sat quietly. "When I see how much damage has been done, I’ll sew your heart and chest back up and I’ll plan what to do next."
"But you’ll find Jesus in my heart. The Bible says He lives there. The hymns all say He lives there. You’ll find Him in my heart."
The surgeon had had enough. "I’ll tell you what I’ll find in your heart. I’ll find damaged muscle, low blood supply, and weakened vessels. And I’ll find out if I can make you well."
"You’ll find Jesus there, too. He lives there."
The surgeon left.
Later, he sat in his office, recording his notes from the surgery, "...damaged aorta, damaged pulmonary vein, widespread muscle degeneration. No hope for transplant, no hope for cure. Therapy: painkillers and bed rest. Prognosis:," here he paused, "death within one year."
He stopped the recorder, but there was more to be said. "Why?" he asked aloud. "Why did You do this? You’ve put him here; You’ve put him in this pain; and You’ve cursed him to an early death. Why?"
The Lord answered and said, "The boy, My lamb, was not meant for your flock for long, for he is a part of My flock, and will forever be. Here, in My flock, he will feel no pain, and will be comforted as you cannot imagine. His parents will one day join him here, and they will know peace, and My flock will continue to grow."
The surgeon’s tears were hot, but his anger was hotter. "You created that boy, and You created that heart. He’ll be dead in months. Why?" The Lord answered, "The boy, My lamb, shall return to My flock, for he has done his duty: I did not put My lamb with your flock to lose him, but to retrieve another lost lamb."
The surgeon wept.
The surgeon sat beside the boy’s bed; the boy’s parents sat across from him. The boy awoke and whispered, "Did you cut open my heart?" "Yes," said the surgeon. "What did you find?" asked the boy.
"I found Jesus there," said the surgeon.
III. You Will Find God Among The Sorrowful !
John 11 gives the account of the death of Lazarus one of his dearest friends.
As Jesus arrived at his home he was met by Mary, a sister of Lazarus......listen to her pain.....V32 When Mary was come where Jesus was, and saw him, she fell down at his feet, saying unto him, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died. When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews also weeping which came with her, he groaned in the spirit, and was troubled. And said, Where have ye laid him ? They said unto him, Lord, come and see.
Then we read one of the most amazing verses in the Bible.......V35 "Jesus wept"
Why did Jesus weep ? Was it over the death of his friend Lazarus ?
It was when he saw the weeping of those that loved Lazarus that caused him to weep as well.......
He felt for them.........he sensed their pain, and he wept !
If you are experiencing sorrow this morning........you will find God in your sorrow !
IV. You Will Find God Among The Sinful !
Mark 2:15 And it came to pass, that, as Jesus sat at meat in his house, many publicans and sinners sat also together with Jesus and his disciples: for there were many, and they followed him !
Look for Jesus in the N.T. and you’ll find him at the home of a sinful man eating lunch.......
Look for Jesus and you’ll find him in Samaria talking to a sinful woman by a well...........
Look for Jesus and you’ll find him in a cemetery with a man possessed by a demon...............
Look for Jesus and you’ll find him on a cross dying for sinners !
Where there is pain.........you will find him !
God knows your pain because he became a man.......he suffered as a man........and became obedient unto death, even the death on the cross !
"There cannot be a God of love," people say, "because if there was, and he looked upon the world, his heart would break." The church points to the Cross and says, "It did break"
James Jones, in his very helpful book, Why Do People Suffer? tells the story of a school that collapsed, killing all the teachers and most of the children. A little boy, badly maimed, was rescued from the rubble and rushed to hospital. For hours a team of doctors and nurses fought to save his life while his mother waited anxiously outside the operating theatre. After seven hours of painstaking surgery the little boy died.
Instead of leaving it to the nurse to tell the mother, the surgeon went himself. As he broke the dreadful news the mother became hysterical in her grief and attacked the surgeon, pummelling his chest with her fists. But instead of pushing her away, the doctor held her to himself tightly until the woman’s sobbing subsided and she rested cradled in his arms.
And then in the heavy silence the surgeon began to weep. Tears streamed down his face and grief racked his body. For he had come to the hospital the moment he heard that his one and only son had been killed in the same school.
God knows the pain of humanity because he sent his only Son !
Moment by moment I’m kept in His love;
Moment by moment I’ve life from above;
Looking to Jesus till glory doth shine;
Moment by moment, O Lord, I am Thine.
Never a trial that He is not there,
Never a burden that He doth not bear,
Never a sorrow that He doth not share,
Moment by moment, I’m under His care.
Never a heartache, and never a groan,
Never a teardrop and never a moan;
Never a danger but there on the throne,
Moment by moment He thinks of His own.
Never a weakness that He doth not feel,
Never a sickness that He cannot heal;
Moment by moment, in woe or in weal,
Jesus my Savior, abides with me still.