Pain Be Gone

By Michael Temple

Photo by Dreamstime

It’s almost more than I am able to comprehend. Over the past six months I have received the news from a number of good friends and family that are struggling with life-threatening illnesses. Cancer seems to be the malady that is most often cited, and my heart has been heavy more than once as I contemplate what each of these people (and their families) must be going through. 
 
This old world is a weary place to live! 
 
It’s not that I don’t appreciate the good things in life, but my heart aches when I witness hurting people doing their best to slog through. The painful journey of attempting to stay positive regarding one’s eventual outcome in the face of a grim diagnosis seems so unfair. I can detect the peace-stealing look in the eyes of those who suffer, and my throat clenches to stop the heavy sighs that want to punctuate the quiet.
 
I’ve had the privilege of visiting sick and dying people that I care about on a good number of occasions, and honestly it’s something that I have never gotten used to. I want to somehow ease their pain and calm their fears, but all I can seem to do is clumsily grasp a frail hand and try my best to smile. My desire is to bring comfort, but it often seems that comfort is not mine to give. 
 
I’ve even had moments when I think, “God, why don’t you do something? This person is hurting. Can’t you just ease some of this pain and give them some physical and emotional peace?” These questions aren’t a mocking inquiry made towards someone that I fear or disrespect. They are the outpouring of a heart that just wants it to stop. Enough is enough…isn’t it?
 
“From noon to three, the whole world was dark. Around mid-afternoon Jesus groaned from the depths, crying loudly,“Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” which means,“My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?” (Matthew 27:45-46, The Message).
 
Somehow, this verse brings my soul back to center regarding the suffering of people. In ways that I don’t fully understand, it helps to know that we have an Advocate who has also traveled to the depths of despair through physical, spiritual, and emotional pain. One day the jagged trails of struggle and misery that we sometimes walk upon will be permanently dealt with. Until that day comes, we have the love and assurance that there is One who has been there before us, and can lead us through it.