Our youngest son, Zach, has had bulging disks in his back for over five months. He missed half of his baseball season and recently had an epidural, a steroid shot in his spine. It has been a long and difficult journey for a sixteen year old. We have been to eight doctors and we are weary of watching him hurt.
Recently, Zach and I had a great conversation about God and pain and God's ability to rescue us and our questions about the times when it seems like he doesn't rescue us.
If God is so powerful and good, why do we go through such difficult times?
We talked about feelings and truth. Our feelings change and we can't count on them, but truth does not change. It's in the difficult times that we must remind ourselves of the truth--the promises in God's Word. Promises that he will never leave us or fail us. Promises that he has a plan, has a future and a hope for us that works out, even though we can't see everything he can see.
Zach and I talked about Jesus being God and, at the same time, being a real person, by choice. Why? To save us, certainly. But he chose to be one of us, to experience everything that we experience, good and bad. He understands pain because he lived a real life and then he suffered on a cross.
Now Get This: In his worst pain. God the Father turned his back on his Son. Jesus cried out, "Why have you forsaken me?" At times, I am feeling so helpless with Zach's back situation because I can't fix him, but as a parent, I would certainly never forsake my child. I couldn't turn my back on him, so why did the Father turn his back on Jesus? Here is why. Jesus suffered for your sin and pain so that God would never turn his back on you. Jesus chose to bear the sin of the whole world, knowing it would separate him from God the Father. He was forsaken so we would not ever be forsaken by God, even in our worst moments of sin or pain.
He took it all for us. He took our hurt, our physical pain, our pain of being misunderstood, our helplessness, our loneliness, confusion and our sin; and God put all of the burden on Jesus. He bore it all for us in his own real body and soul because he wanted us to have hope. Not only did he purchase heaven for us, but he connected us with a God who can now promise us, "I will never leave you or forsake you."
So how does God respond to our hurt? He hurts with us. He knows about pain and he walks with us through every step of it. What pain or difficulty is weighing heavily on you? In this crazy, imperfect world, God will not leave you. He has been there and he will carry you through!