Pain is personal. It lives and breathes within us as a memory, an almost physical ailment. As sometimes, it also is.
When we have been relieved of our pain, either physical, emotional or spiritual, then pain changes into a potentially usable resource extended out to those we see harboring that pain around us.
Evangelists everywhere have a God-given desire to share a powerful testimony, potent stories of true pain. Inspiration in such a way, they bring it all to the surface, showing how their pain relates to the listener; trusting us enough to get personal. And, just as pain and sorrow began their story, their witness just as surely ends with joy, joy that shines through and covers their pain. Sharing God’s promise to us, that weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.
Then shall the virgin rejoice in the dance, both young men and old together: for I will turn their mourning into joy, and will comfort them, and make them rejoice from their sorrow. —Jeremiah 31:13 KJV
And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. —Revelation 21:4 KJV
When we are able to see those former things passing away here and now in our own lives, we have a testimony; a testimony of joy as our pain is no longer with us. Knowing our story ends in good news, we want to share it, sing it from the rooftops and help those we have grown to love so very much; even those we may not know at all. The impact of such a story can be huge and exactly what someone hurting may need.
When we use our pain to help others, in many cases, it is done in empathy. Empathy is different than sympathy. Empathy comes from actually experiencing much of the same events, circumstances and pain as someone struggling this very moment. It can be assuring to know someone has experienced similar pain and turned out a better person as a result.
Have we suffered with family losses? Have loved ones denied us? Have we ever been laughed at? Have we been judged and ridiculed by people held in high esteem? Was there ever a time in our lives when we had no place to rest our head? Were we ever hungry or thirsty and no one was there to give us comfort? Did we ever wish we were not alone?
There is One who has been through all those things and so much more, who has gone before us and made a way for each and every one of our pains and sorrows to be redeemed and turned into joy. He is Jesus Christ, our Savior. And by the power of the Holy Spirit through God’s never ending love and grace, we are able to perform even greater miracles. How do we perform such miracles?
One way would be to share our pain, to take hold of the promises and move along the path God has set before us. This could be as simple as a smile or as supportive as a hand to someone less able. The smallest gesture can make all the difference to someone suffering.
If we find ourselves unwilling to share in such a personal way, take a moment to ask why? And there you may find the man or woman still holding onto old pain like a well-earned prize, but a prize it will be, once it is shared.
Rest assured, God will cover and heal our pain, blessing those who are able to share the good news of pain relieved.