“He called out, ‘Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!’” Luke 18:38 (NIV)
In an instant, sharp pain shot through my right leg. It happened so quickly that I was caught off guard.
Only minutes earlier, I had been helping my husband prune overgrown tree limbs. Then I decided to clip the dead branches of a juniper bush in front of my house. I had barely touched the shrub with my clippers before several wasps flew out of the bush and stung me.
My leg felt like it was on fire. Without concern for who heard me or what I looked like, I screamed in pain, wanting immediate relief.
It wasn’t pretty as I limped inside the house and frantically tried to soothe my wasp stings, to no avail. Thankfully, my husband ran to my aid and did all the necessary medical care. His efforts momentarily alleviated the pain, but for days my leg had red and swollen patches reminding me of my wasp ordeal. Those patches came with burning, itchiness and agony.
The more I reflect on my unexpected yard-work trial, the more I think about this past year.
After the difficulty of 2020, I anticipated things would be better. I hoped life would be easier, calmer and back to normal by the end of 2021. This year, however, we have collectively experienced unanticipated trials.
For many of us, the events we have weathered happened quickly and unexpectedly, just like my wasp stings. We have been impacted by sickness, natural disasters, political unrest and personal challenges. The pain from these ordeals has lingered.
Some of us are left feeling dismayed, discouraged and disillusioned.
Why so much destruction?
Why so much loss of life?
Why so much pain?
I can’t answer those questions, but I am keenly aware that pain prompts a different response than comfort.
Pain forces us to acknowledge we need help.
Pain causes us to realize we are not in control.
Pain makes us depend on someone or something other than ourselves.
Pain has a way of making us cry out in a way we would not do otherwise.
I would not usually open my front door and scream uncontrollably, but I did in response to pain.
In Luke 18:35, we are introduced to a blind beggar. We do not know how long this man had been in this condition, but we can see his desperation in his cry for help: “He called out, ‘Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!’” (Luke 18:38).
This man was not concerned with the opinions of others or the rebukes from people who wanted him to be quiet. His personal pain prompted him to cry out to the Messiah. He was aware of his lack of control and God’s sovereignty. He opted to cry out all the more until Jesus ordered that the man be brought to Him.
Jesus asked the man what he wanted, and the man’s response was, “Lord, I want to see” (Luke 18:41b, NIV). Scripture tells us that immediately this man received his sight and placed his faith in Jesus. Many people saw this miracle and began to praise God.
This man could have surrendered to his painful condition. He could have reasoned, What is the use in crying out to Jesus? This is a sentiment I have uttered. Why cry out to God if the pain will just persist?
The reality is, sometimes the pain persists.
The existence of pain, however, does not diminish the sovereign power of God. If He has allowed pain to persist in our lives, there is a purpose and a reason that will ultimately work out for our good, as Romans 8:28 says: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (NIV).
God may use our pain to demonstrate His power to humanity.
He may use our pain to grow us spiritually.
He may use our pain to correct our behavior.
We do not know why God allows pain to exist, but we do know He always has a purpose for everything, and He never wastes a hurt.
We cry out to God in acknowledgment that He is God and we are not. In doing so, we look to Him as controller of the outcome. We pray in faith, knowing that God is more than capable of answering our prayers, but we also accept the reality that He may not answer in the way we want. In doing so, God offers us a peace that persists in spite of the pain we endure. No matter what our pain is, God invites us to cry out to Him.
Dear God, when I experience pain in this life, give me the courage to cry out to You. Help me to trust that You are greater than the pain I experience, and Your peace can exist in spite of the pain I face. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
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FOR DEEPER STUDY
Psalm 62:11-12, “One thing God has spoken, two things I have heard: ‘Power belongs to you, God, and with you, Lord, is unfailing love’; and, ‘You reward everyone according to what they have done.’” (NIV)
How has pain prompted you to cry out to God? We’d love to hear from you! Share your thoughts in the comments.
© 2021 by Kia Stephens. All rights reserved.
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