Sometimes, I observe people. Many are dressed in their finest, driving expensive cars, living in expensive houses, every hair in place, have nice jobs and bank accounts, educated in the best schools, have nice families, are church-going people and some even confess to be saved; some may be preachers, pastors, or elected officials, etc. What I’ve learned is, everything can look perfect outwardly; however, if I look deeper, sometimes I can see the pain that some people are carrying inside. We don’t usually consider looking deep into each other’s soul, the inside, but if we did, we’d be able to understand each other better. We might be able to see the pain that causes the clenched fists, the tight shoulders, the tight upper lips, the slumped shoulders, the negative response to a simple remark made by some harmless individual, etc. We could be better friends and have better relationships with family members. We could be more compassionate, more loving, more respectful, and more understanding of others.
There are times I can see the pain, but I don’t know what to do and, because I care, it makes me feel uncomfortable. My heart goes out to the person/people because I know what it’s like to wear the mask. I know what it’s like to laugh when you want to cry; I know how miserable it makes one feel not to have faith in anything or anybody. I know what it’s like to not want to believe in certain people, in fear of getting hurt again.
There’s a lot of pain in this world. Pain doesn’t have respect for age, color, position, gender, class, or anything else. It invades the lives of all, and it hurts. Pain can cause a lot of negative effects. Let’s compare hurting adults and hurting children: Hurting children and adults act out in negative ways; hurting children and adults become mean, and hurt others; hurting children and adults are given pills to help cope with the pain; sometimes, hurting adults and children go into seclusion. There is one difference, however, hurting adults know how to better hide our pain.
Whether we’re Christians or not, children or adults, old or young, black or white, all pain hurts. Therefore, we shouldn’t assume one person’s pain is greater than another’s.
The best remedy for hurting people is to turn to God. He cares. (1Peter 5:7) If we commit ourselves to Him, He has promised to never leave us nor forsake us. (Hebrew 13:5-6) He will be with us always. (Matthew 28:20) As a result, our battles become His, not ours. (Exodus 14:14) When we love God and live according to His purpose, all things will work together for our good.
I believe our pain can transform us into being better people. The Scripture teaches that Jesus Himself was perfected through suffering. (Hebrew 2:10) An example we should draw from Jesus is, He prayed. Just before He went to Calvary to die for our sins He prayed to the Father to remove the cup from Him. God sent His angels to minister to Him and when He was strengthened, Jesus declared, “Father not my will but Thy will be done.” (Luke 22:42)
The Scripture teaches that if we want to live with Him, we must suffer with Him. (2Timothy 2:12) But, we don’t have to let our pain be our master. God’s word tells us that we are more than conquerors in Christ. God can give us the power to rise above every obstacle. In addition, Paul informs us that all things work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose.
God loves us and has a purpose for each of us. He doesn’t allow pain, or anything else, to happen to a Christian without having a plan to use that situation for our good. Pain comes in many forms: A broken marriage, the death of a loved one, a broken heart, a sick body, a lost job, a sick loved one, etc. Yet, all things work together for the good of those who love God, have given their lives to God, and have recognized that God has a purpose for them. When God delivers us from the pain, He will be glorified and we will be better because of our experience. God will be glorified because we’ll know, had it not been for the Lord on our side we would’ve never been able to get through our pain. We’ll be better because, once we have suffered, we’ll be better able to identify with other people when they’re going through their pain. This will help us to be better able to minister to others who’re hurting. Yes, our pain can make us a better people.
Presiding Elder (Retired) Ella M. Samuels
7711 Astoria Place
Raleigh, North Carolina 27612
African Methodist Episcopal Church.