When the Pain Overwhelms


Over the years I have been in a lot of hospitals with friends, family, and church folk.  I have been in numerous homes with families in crisis.  As is customary, I pray with the family at some point while I am present.  You would think that would be easy, right?  It is obvious what needs to be said, right?  Here are a few components normally desired by any who are there:

  • Tell God to heal them.
  • Remind God He is the Great Healer and can/should do this.
  • Do it right now.
  • Invoke Jesus’ name.
  • Say Amen.

I am certainly not making light of anyone’s pain. I have had my share of it personally also.  I simply believe that we set ourselves up for a fall emotionally and spiritually.  Consider what is actually being said.  In essence, as a minister, we are presenting our case in such a way as if we were in charge.  We “ask” God to heal/help in the problem, but aren’t we really telling Him to fix it right now?  We try to twist His arm with Scripture to get God to do our bidding in our time and to our satisfaction.

When we face problems we tend to follow this certain course.  What if that is not God’s plan?  If we have expressed our heart and we are not OK with anything else then we will be frustrated, angry, and bitter if it does not happen.  Even if it does happen, we will then have an over-inflated view of ourselves and be more insistent the next time.  The bottom line is that we are not in control but want to be.  When pain or circumstances hit us hard we feel out of control.  We go to God and explain the problem and express the solution we want.  The perspective we have is all about us.

Did Jesus ever face this?  Yes He did.  Look at how he dealt with God on the matter.

“Now My soul is troubled. What should I say — Father, save Me from this hour? But that is why I came to this hour.  Father, glorify Your name! ” Then a voice came from heaven:  “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again! ”

Jesus was having to deal with the weight of what was coming.  The pain and torture were undeniably on His mind!  What did He ask for here?  Jesus asked the rhetorical question for all, even us, to hear loud and clear.  Everyone believes you should ask to be saved from whatever problem you are in.  Jesus disagrees.  He recognizes a few things we must also if we are to have peace with God and with our circumstances.

Jesus recognized there is a higher plan in play.  God’s plan is far beyond our understanding.  He has a course of action set in motion to reach a lost world with the Gospel, see them respond in faith, gather the faithful in the end.  Jesus’ moment was but a twinkle in time.  He submitted to the higher plan regardless of the current pain.

Jesus recognized there is a divine perspective to be understood.  Jesus was all God and all Man.  We don’t understand that except to say that the humanity of Jesus was seeking asylum from this pain.  Yet, He chose to view things from 30,000 feet rather than 3 feet.  It is amazing how things look different from that altitude!

Jesus recognized there is power in going through pain.  God could receive all the glory because Jesus’ attitude was right.  He wanted God to receive the glory in His life, in his pain, in his problems, in his death.

How should we pray?  While there is no magical formula, there are a few components that might be spiritually more accurate.

  • Thank God for the blessings you do have.
  • Thank God for the relationship you do have.
  • Share your pain and desire to see healing however God chooses. (Taking a believer to Heaven is a form of healing.)
  • Pray that God would receive glory through the process.
  • Ask God to bring peace and assurance of His presence and plan.
  • Ask God to help you with perspective.

These elements keep our perspective in check and position under God.  He is the commander (Elohim).  He has a plan based on our faith covenant through Jesus (Yahweh).  He has everyone’s best interest in mind and is compassionate to your plight (Adonai).

Have faith in God when your pathway is lonely.
He sees and knows all the way you have trod;
Never alone are the least of His children;
Have faith in God, have faith in God.

Have faith in God when your prayers are unanswered,
Your earnest plea He will never forget;
Wait on the lord, trust His word and be patient,
Have faith in God. He’ll answer yet.

Have faith in God in your pain and your sorrow,
His heart is touched with your grief and despair;
Cast all your cares and your burdens upon Him,
And leave them there, oh, leave them there.

Have faith in God though all else fall about you;
Have faith in God, He provides for His own:
He cannot fail though all kingdoms shall perish.
He rules. He reigns upon His throne.

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