by Elsa Houtz
From an abscessed tooth to major surgery or worse, pain is a part life—a part I think we all would like to skip. Unfortunately, it’s an unavoidable aspect of being human. And as we progress through Lent, it’s impossible not to be reminded of the pain Jesus endured on our behalf.
The Romans were very creative in devising cruel ways to torture their prisoners. Their treatment of Jesus after his arrest is hard to wrap our minds around—an example of “man’s inhumanity to man” taken to the nth degree.
But Jesus endured a great deal of non-physical pain during His life too: pain of betrayal by those closest to Him…the pain of knowing an agonizing death lay ahead…the pain of grief and loss when His friend died…even the pain of inner conflict when He was tempted in the wilderness and when He struggled at Gethsemane.
It’s heart-wrenching to reflect on Jesus’ pain—physical, emotional, and spiritual. But at the same time, there’s great encouragement in knowing that when we are in pain, Jesus understands, because He has been there. While we know He reigns in glory now, we also know He is here in the trenches with us every moment of every day. He knows what it’s like to be in pain—of any kind—because He has experienced it. He never lets us suffer alone, but willingly gives us His understanding, compassion and mercy.
When I’m in pain, do I remember to seek strength from Jesus’ love and sacrifice, remembering that whatever I’m experiencing, He’s been there first? Do I remember to ask Him for courage and guidance as I walk through the pain?
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and God of all comfort.” —2 Corinthians 1:3 (NIV)