And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.
King James of Scotland dressed as a beggar and walked among the poor to feel their pain and to identify with them. He knew that if he walked around dressed like a king, he wouldn’t get the real story. He wanted to relate to his people, on their level. He wanted them to open up to him.
God did the same thing by sending His Son Jesus (Emmanuel, God with us) to live among us, to feel our pain and to identify with us. Jesus was tempted and suffered just like us. He fulfilled the law of sin and death to gracefully give life eternal! Without His grace it would be impossible.
Pain is one of those things that is good, bad, and normal all at the same time. Pain is a sign that you are alive. It tells you when something is wrong. It warns you. It strengthens you. It molds and shapes you. It teaches you. Everyone alive has pain.
Muscle pain is good if you have exercised, bad if you haven’t. Foot pain is good if you have been going and telling it on the mountain that Jesus Christ is king. Bad if you just sit on a couch or pew somewhere getting sugar diabetes. Pain is a sign of aging, a warning sign and merciful reminder that we are all mortal.
Pain tells you when something is wrong. It goes away when everything is back to normal. It is extremely painful for a soldier to be deployed but that pain is forgotten when he comes home. Women go through a lot of pain giving birth to a child. That pain is not even remembered when that little thing lets out it’s first little cry.
Paul says the greatest pain on earth is not comparable to the joy when we get to heaven. That is my paraphrase from Romans 8:18 ‘For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.’
The joy of being in heaven, and the freedom from pain and sadness, I believe is why all the tears are wiped away when we get there.
Pain makes us more like Christ, and increases our likelihood of being saved and going to heaven. The anguish of sin brings us to our knees so we can cry out to God. Only He can save us, as it says in Psalm 107:12 He subjected them to bitter labor; they stumbled, and there was no one to help.
They cried to the Lord in their trouble. Then they cried to the Lord and he saved them from their distress.
That’s also what Paul said in Col 1:24 ‘Now I rejoice in what I am suffering for you, and I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ’s afflictions, for the sake of his body, which is the church.’
While we are here on earth, here in Nicaragua we want to alleviate as much pain and suffering on this earth as possible. We want to add to Christ’s church, to help these children to get to heaven, by helping them and also by teaching them to cry out to the Lord.
On this Christmas I hope we remembered, and keep on remembering Christ. Jesus embraced the pain of going to the cross for us. Mary, His mom, embraced the pain of childbirth as well as the horrific pain of seeing her baby being crucified. God the Father suffered as He watched His Son die as a sacrifice for our sin, in order that we can someday have no more pain, and live with Him forever in paradise.