Episode #107 Your Pain Matters to God – Reconstructing Faith
From Today's Episode:
Welcome! We're in our Reconstructing Faith Series and today's topic is Your Pain Matters to God.
Isaiah 53:3-5; John 11:5, 20-21, 32-35, 38a
God, why do I resist bringing this pain to you?
Here's the episode transcript
Hi friends, it's Jen and welcome to Good God Talks. Today we're talking about how our pain matters to God. And it's less about you and I having this conversation, although I'm grateful you tuned in here, it's more about using this podcast as a conversation starter or a conversation continuer for you to take this topic into conversation with God.
And Jesus is known in scripture as a man of sorrows. He is the Messiah, the Christ, the Savior of the world. And he is a man of sorrows because he is our Savior. I'm going to read real quickly for us from Isaiah 53. And this is verses three and four, and it's a prophetic word spoken about Christ, 700 years or so before he was born. And it says,
“He was despised and rejected by men,
a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief;
and as one from whom men hide their faces
he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
Surely he has borne our griefs
and carried our sorrows;
yet we esteemed him stricken,
smitten by God, and afflicted.” (Isaiah 53:3-4)
And I'll close with verse 5 here:
“But he was pierced for our transgressions;
he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
and with his wounds we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:5)
So Jesus is a man of sorrows, or it's also translated, a man of pains, acquainted with grief or knowing sickness, he bore our griefs and carried our sorrows. And as we go through life, we do experience pain. Many of us are already very familiar with grief and sorrow. When we need healing for our wounds, we can bring our pain to Jesus and ask Him for healing and for comfort.
Even when we know this though, it can be difficult to reconcile that with how we feel in the moment or our perceptions of God. That's part of why I'm talking about this here in the context of being reconstructed in our faith. Because we can take a fresh look at how we approach God when we're in pain, and ask Him if there's things that He wants to rebuild or realign in us. That more closely align with the truth of who he is, of his character, his nature, his love for us, and with his word.
When you think about how you naturally respond to God when you're in pain, what does that typically look like? Maybe for you, you're quick to come near to him to receive help and comfort in times of need. Maybe you withdraw. Maybe you feel like he only wants you to come in joy and gladness and that doesn't include space for any negative feelings or circumstances. Maybe it's hard to draw near when you're walking through pain knowing that God has the power to do something about it that's different from what he's done.
We're going to look at an account recorded in John chapter 11 of some other real-life people who had the opportunity to draw near to Jesus in their time of pain.
And so I'm going to jump around to a few different verses here. Starting in verse 5, it says,
“Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus.” (John 11:5)
And then he hears that Lazarus is ill.
We can question God's love for us sometimes. If he doesn't immediately prevent or alleviate the pain. But we know clearly that Jesus loved Mary and Martha and Lazarus, and yet Lazarus still died. And Jesus says that Lazarus has fallen asleep and he's going to go awaken him. Jesus knew he was going to raise Lazarus from the dead.
And so he comes. Lazarus has already been in the tomb for four days. And then in verse 20,
“So when Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went and met him, but Mary remained seated in the house.” (John 11:20)
So we have two examples here of the sisters responding differently. One who hears Jesus is coming and rushes toward him and the other who hears that he's coming and stays away. Now, I'm not making any judgments on this, and you might relate to one more than the other, but I think it's worth noting that these sisters had a different approach to Jesus, but they still had the same question for him.
In verse 21, Martha said to Jesus, “’Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.’” (John 11:21)
Jesus and Martha continue in a bit of a conversation. And then in verse 28, she goes and calls her sister, Mary saying in private, the teacher is here and is calling for you. And when she heard it, she rose quickly and went to him.
“Now, when Mary came to where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet, saying to him, ‘Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.’ When Jesus saw her weeping and the Jews who had come with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in his spirit and greatly troubled. And he said, ‘Where have you laid him?’ They said to him, ‘Lord, come and see.’ Jesus wept.” (John 11:32-35)
“Then Jesus, deeply moved again, came to the tomb.” (John 11:38a)
And he says, take away the stone, and he raises Lazarus from the dead.
That's a great ending to this story and a beautiful miracle. But I'm sharing this story with us today because it's a beautiful illustration of how God meets us in our pain and shares our pain with us. Jesus knew that he was going to raise Lazarus from the dead, and yet he was still deeply moved by their grief. He wept with them.
The phrase, deeply moved, is also translated, indignant at. And some of us may have heard that interpreted before to mean that Jesus was angry at their grief. But he didn't correct them for grieving. He was indignant at death; he was incited to anger against sin's tyranny.
God meets us in our difficult places.
As I reflected on this topic, I realized that sometimes I can hesitate to draw near to God in pain because I anticipate His correction. I anticipate a harsh response. An immediate call to action or instruction. Where often instead He offers comfort.
And so we're bringing this topic into conversation with him to ask him to meet us where we are and to provide for our needs. As you reflect on areas of pain, or discomfort, or disappointment, pay attention to any ways you may withdraw or withhold that from God. And then ask him about it.
God, why do I resist bringing this pain to you?
See what else he wants to share with you. Have a good talk.
And if you've been encouraged by this content, please share it with a friend and help them grow in their conversational relationship with God too!
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