There are days in my line of work that I get very frustrated with God and the suffering that His people are experiencing. Most people don’t come to talk to me because they are doing great, so there are a lot of hard stories that surround me throughout the day. I really questioned God on it earlier this year, wondering why He could seem so distant and uncaring. He gave me this picture of Himself in the midst of our suffering.
When my son was six months old, he had a severe allergic reaction to something. We weren’t sure what it was, but knew he probably had food allergies of some kind. He was barely starting solid food, so it was just through touching things that he reacted and we needed to get him checked out right away.
The allergist we went to see was very kind, but as a new mom with a tiny baby, it was hard to willingly present my baby to be poked and prodded. They had to do a scratch test where they poke his back with all sorts of little bits of things he could be allergic to and then he must not scratch it for 15 minutes while they wait to see the welts form. He was uncomfortable, and I held him close and cried as I watch him writhe in frustration as it itched. The welts were huge on some of the spots on his back, and my hope for a quick and easy solution to this diminished greatly.
Next it was time to take blood for a blood test. They had to poke both wrists and his foot to try to get blood as his little veins were not giving enough at any of the sites. I wept through this as my son screamed. They ended up saying they would have to try again in a few months because even with all the pain, they couldn’t get enough. His little eyes kept looking at me as if to ask why on earth his mother would bring him willingly to be tortured.
God reminded me that He is not absent in pain, just as I didn’t leave my son and go get coffee while he was suffering. He weeps with us and our pain goes to His heart, as we are His beloved children. If I as a human mom who tries her best but fails often would never abandon my son in the midst of suffering, how much more would He stand with us and hold us as we ache. He showed me that often He can’t explain why the pain is necessary, just as I couldn’t explain it to my baby and make it make sense. But that didn’t mean that He would abandon us in it. And even when we look at Him as if He has betrayed us and brought us to suffering for no reason, He stays with us and holds us close.
If you are in the midst of pain today, please remember that you are not alone. Jesus stands with you and understands the pain. He is a high priest who is not distant or absent but has experienced the suffering (Heb 4:15). He loves you so much and weeps with you as you mourn. He is not untouched by our suffering or waiting until we get our act together, but kneels down with us in the mess and holds us close. Remember that the circumstance doesn’t define the character of God—He is the same yesterday, today and forever (Heb 13:8). And His love is overflowing, compassionate and personal. He will not abandon you in this suffering, but instead waits with steadfastness and holds us through everything.