In my last post I shared some statistics that demonstrate the pain that the world experiences. Not that Christians don’t experience pain, but we do have Someone who walks alongside us in the midst of it. Alyce responded to that post, and her comments were so relevant and beautiful, I asked her permission to post them.
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We are called to step into other’s suffering.
It was something I wrestled with for a while with God. I used to facilitate a New Testament Twelve Step Recovery Program at a therapeutic community for women in recovery. Underneath their addictions were pasts of pain, abuse, and trauma. Their stories were unbearable and many times while driving home I would be crying to God and asking him all kinds of questions. As the bridge for them between this world and Jesus’ Kingdom, I had wanted to pull these women into eternity. I didn’t know any other way to do it. One women in particular broke me. But God’s words to me were to “step into her pain.”
On one occasion in particular, I initiated yet another conversation with God. Thinking back to when He first told me that I would have to “step into her pain”. I kept running his words around in my head and thought, “But nobody does that. Nobody steps into someone else’s pain.” And for some reason while running it around in my head again I had to ask him, “Who in their right mind would step into someone else’s pain?” I’m certain you know what the answer is that I received. I can’t communicate the exact response because it was a combination of words and visual images with no beginning, middle or end, and all at once, in a moment, it was a complete answer….. Jesus.
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11 replies on “Choosing to step into pain”
In 10 days, I will be in Nigeria, a country whose people my wife and I have come to love. I’m slotted to spend an entire week with 25 high school teachers (they’re suspending classes for the week!), several of them knowing Christ, but many not yet knowing Him. The theme of our days is Becoming Influencers for Christ upon students. For several days, I’ve been asking God, and even again this morning as I awoke, “how do You want me to begin speaking about You?” My heart is pounding right now and I’m weeping as I text! His answer! “I stepped in their pain”
He did something similar with me yesterday, as I was seeking Him for the village pastors with whom I will also be meeting for 3 days, around the theme “Christ is All” — and suddenly there was an avalanche of content and teaching methods that just flooded into my spirit, primarily concerning the treasures within His names and the manifold excellence of His person and works. He is so amazing! Who can contain Him?!!!!
Father, I pray for Jim’s time in Nigeria that he will be your voice to the people he comes in touch with. Speak to and through him. Give him your heart for the people and help him to step with you into the pain of the people he comes across–and then Lord give him your answers for them. Amen
Amen. Thank you, Felicity!
yea we as true believers will step into whatever Christ steps into because we are in union with him
Seeing the world from another’s perspective is one of those relational skills that is severely lacking in our culture, and one which I have learned in many hard ways over the years. Combining this lack of skill with an individualistic culture and an addiction to being right and it’s no wonder the U.S. has the highest divorce rate in the world, right?
Whenever I receive a call from an unknown phone number, I allow my phone to go straight into voicemail so that I may scan whomever is trying to reach me. If they are determined to be worth my time, I may return the phone call. Sadly, this is how many in the American Church have become, as a guarded bunch of people who are more concerned with guarding their time. Church has become a club for the converted and ministry has become categorical. “Only people with training and proper facilities should attempt to minister to those who are tainted in addictive lifestyles,” has become the unspoken elephant in the room. The Lord reminds us in Luke 15 (3 times) that Heaven celebrates when a brother/sister has repented and has been brought back to the fold. Heaven does not celebrate when a person completes a “12 step program,” or if a person has become victorious over past demons. Just admitting one is a sinner in need of Jesus results in the Angels having a party!!!Jesus clearly advises in Luke 15; that God who has suffered the greatest personal lost whenever a soul is “lost,” makes great efforts to seek and restore that which was lost. God is after the redemption of all of His children. We believers on this side of the Cross know that Jesus went after us and He did so at the personal cost to His flesh and blood. “We owe the world an encounter with Jesus,” is a saying that Bill Johnson has preached. Jesus ate with sinners, hung out with tax collectors, along with having released the penalty of death to a prostitute. Jesus is recorded as having lived a sinless life, yet he impacted many lives while on this Earth. CS Lewis once wrote that you can’t say Jesus was a good teacher or man because of what he said about himself. Jesus was the perfect son of God who lived 100% reliant upon the leading of the Holy Spirit. Jesus told His Disciples to wait until the Holy Spirit came upon them. Jesus predicted that we would do greater works. Either Jesus is a liar, or He told the truth. If Jesus told the truth about greater works, than the Church needs to stop and ask itself, do 501c status and church programs equate to greater works? We the Church owe the world more than what we have become.
Yes!! I agree. I love the saying of Bill Johnson you quote here. We owe the world an encounter with Jesus. While we remain in our Christian enclaves we are unlikely to have an impact. But supposing all of us were “on the look out” for people who are open to being touched by Jesus…
Thank you for this post, and for the preceding post casting a glimpse of the brokenness we see (but maybe don’t truly comprehend) every day. My church is currently in the prayer process of launching a 12-step Christ-centered Celebrate Recovery within the next few months, and your posts could not have come at a better time for encouragement.
So often we think about empathizing with others, but less often do we truly empathize with them with an engaged heart. I love how beautifully she wrote this…not a forceful call to action, but a truth that compels us to step out in faith and in love.
I love what your church is doing. The church has the answers–not in a I -know-I’m-right and force-it-down-your-throat kind of way, but simply because Jesus is the answer.