Lent 2018 – Day 4 – Pain

Pain is hard to sit with. We always want to make it go away. What happens when we focus on the pain instead of focusing on what we will do when the pain is gone?

According to this article’ “Biblical Laments: Prayer out of Pain” lamentations are necessary for spiritual growth. What are lamentations? Here is their definition: ”

Lamentation, a prayer for help coming out of pain, is very common in the Bible. Over one third (50 or so) of the psalms are laments. Lament frequently occurs in the Book of Job: “Why did I not perish at birth, come forth from the womb and expire?” (Job 3:11). The prophets likewise cry out to God, such as Jeremiah does: “Why is my pain continuous, my wound incurable…?” (15:18) and Habakkuk: “…my legs tremble beneath me. I await the day of distress that will come upon the people who attack us” (3:16).

One whole book, Lamentations, expresses the confusion and suffering felt after the destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians.”

I believe the words of pain are important because they keep us grounded and allow us to feel.

In the Hebrew Bible the book of Lamentations is full of pain. Here are some words from chapter 3:

” 1 I am the man who has seen affliction
by the rod of the Lord’s wrath.
2 He has driven me away and made me walk
in darkness rather than light;
3 indeed, he has turned his hand against me
again and again, all day long.

4 He has made my skin and my flesh grow old
and has broken my bones.
5 He has besieged me and surrounded me
with bitterness and hardship.
6 He has made me dwell in darkness
like those long dead.

7 He has walled me in so I cannot escape;
he has weighed me down with chains.
8 Even when I call out or cry for help,
he shuts out my prayer.

And yet, several verses later in the same chapter it is said,

“28 Let him sit alone in silence,
for the Lord has laid it on him.
29 Let him bury his face in the dust—
there may yet be hope.
30 Let him offer his cheek to one who would strike him,
and let him be filled with disgrace.

31 For no one is cast off
by the Lord forever.
32 Though he brings grief, he will show compassion,
so great is his unfailing love.
33 For he does not willingly bring affliction
or grief to anyone.

Pain leads to prayer. Pain leads to finding a problem. Sitting with our pain can helps us find out where it comes from.

I will leave you with a quote from Brené Brown,

“I went back to church thinking that it would be like an epidural, like it would take the pain away… that church would make the pain go away. Faith and church was not an epidural for me at all; it was like a midwife who just stood next to me saying, ‘Push. It’s supposed to hurt a little bit.'”