During Sunday mornings recently, our church family has been watching a man named Job suffer. And, what a trial he walked though those many years ago. We see a man who lost everything but His own life and that of his wife. And to make matters worse, it seemed like he had to suffer alone. The counsel of his wife and his friends wasn’t very encouraging.
Recently a friend spent over two weeks in the hospital with a vague prognosis that never seemed to make sense to him. My family spent a good bit of time in the hospital with him, most of the time simply being present, recognizing that he was in the midst of difficult circumstances. We wanted him to know that even though we couldn’t do any tangible thing to get him out of there faster, we didn’t want him to be alone.
Even though I feel awkward when I’m “just there” not doing anything more than sometimes making small talk or simply being present and sharing the space, I get that, the simple fact that I know what’s happening and I care enough to recognize it, is great comfort to the patient. The same is true when my wife tells me, “I don’t need you to fix this, I just need you to know how I feel!”
But interested enough, even though we as believers in Christ, know that He is always with us, we so much of the time, aren’t ok with Him simply “being present.” So we question His faithfulness and often undermine the rich comfort His simple presence can bring. Why is this? I think it’s because we know that He could do something more. We believe that He could solve the problem, heal the disease and provide for the need. He could do more.
When we believe that He has the power to “us-do” the problem and doesn’t, we somehow feel “cheated.”
And that’s when we miss out in a huge way. We miss out on the rich comfort that He brings us simply by HIs presence being with us in the trial. When we tap into the reality that He knows our every thought, every fear, every hope and walks with us in everything; every event, every trial and every joy, we tap into comfort like no one else can give.
Right before Jesus “un-did” Lazarus’ death in John 11, he did something more basic and human than we ever saw revealed of Him prior. He cried. He was moved by the peril and sadness of the situation. We see His full humanity visible in His simple presence. He knew that it is hard to suffer alone and so He entered into Mary and Martha’s suffering and allowed the full weight of that trial to enter His emotions.
That same Jesus is with us believers through every single instance of suffering. He is fully present and aware of every thought and feeling during everything we suffer through. We never “suffer alone” when we walk through life as a follower of Christ. He may not choose to “un-do” the trial, but He always enters in to it with us!
That makes all the difference!
Written by LifePoint Elder, Joel Potter