It’s true, it does. Life is hard. People are hurting; healthy people, sick people, poor people, rich people. Followers of Christ, people who don’t follow Christ. We’re all hurting.
A lot of people have contacted me lately to share their situations. For a while, literally three or four people a day called me…texted me…emailed me. They were all going through hard stuff. I’m not talking about the little stuff; I’m talking hard times. Times that change your life and your direction and your focus and make you change what you’re doing and make you step back and think how did this happen. Things that transform you for the rest of your life.
Even more recently, I’m finding out this isn’t unique with me. I’m not the only one receiving the phone calls and texts and email messages. Other friends are experiencing the same thing; they also are receiving those same phone calls and text messages and emails. They also are seeing the pain and the hurt. Why is there so much pain? What can we do about it?
Why is there pain?
We live in a sinful, fallen world; that’s not going to change. Pride. Arrogance. Greed. Lust. Selfishness. For some people, those may only be Bible sin words but reality is they tear us down. They hurt. They hurt the participator but their flames also fan out to burn everyone in their path. “The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; who can understand it” (Jeremiah 17:9)?
What can we do about it?
This is the way it is and it’s not going to get any better. It’s going to get worse. But I don’t want to be a pessimist because there is hope. But right here, right now, what can we do? That’s the question… and I don't have all the answers. But I know where to start.
I just finished a study on prayer. One of the things that came through in that study is that we are so quick to pray for physical problems. And there are some bad physical problems – like cancer. But where are the prayers for the drug addicts and the mentally unstable, the unsaved and those who’ve walked away. Where are the prayers that knock us to our knees in humility as we acknowledge God is in control and without him we’re incompetent? Does our pride keep us from sharing those prayers?
“Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective” (James 5:16). The word “healed” in this verse isn’t referring to physical healing – it’s a healing of the soul that makes us whole, frees us from our sins, and brings us salvation. That’s the kind of healing we all need to alleviate some of the pain.
We have developed a habit of reading God’s word for comfort, because it’s the right thing to do, or to gain knowledge. These are all good and true reasons but we’ve lost the habit of reading it so it will transform us. We read it…we study it…we wrestle through the hard passages so they can change us. “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Romans 12:2). We do it so we are no longer the person we used to be as we become more like Christ. I hope that hasn’t become too much of a cliché because it’s the truth. Will we accomplish it on this side of eternity? No, but it’s the goal. It’s the plan. It’s what we’re supposed to be doing. We dig into God’s Word and allow it to transform us.
These two activities – prayer and Bible study – aren’t going to solve all of the world’s problems overnight. But they can make a difference in your own personal set of problems. They can be a source of healing as they pour out to those around you as well. And then, when you get the phone call…or text message…or email with a word of hurt and pain, you’ll know what to do about it. You either head to the Word or you fall to your knees. Either one has the power to get you through.