Into the Pain

sad-manToday I was brought face-to-face with the pain of another person. They had just moments before experienced a great loss. As I listened I came to the realization that I had no words that could even begin to match the pain in that moment. More than anything I did not want to sound trite, or portray a sympathy that was not up to the pain they were feeling.

My world lately has had a lot of struggle in it. I have been facing some things in my life I need to change, and facing how to manage some of the things I cannot change. Stress has been high, and I have often felt lately that it would be easier to not care as much about things or people. If I didn’t care, then I wouldn’t have stress or pain. How sad. I’m not proud of that.

So, how does God react to these feelings I have had lately? He puts me right in the middle of a moment where I am forced to make a choice between caring and not. A choice between serving myself or serving others. A choice to be like Him or to be like me. I would be lying if I said I was happy for the opportunity.

As I knelt there before a breaking heart, all I could do was ask how Jesus would enter into this room and handle this. So many thoughts and words flooded my mind as I thought of His wisdom, His insight, His training. Then it hit me. I don’t think He would have given a statement of belief, a course of action, or a “word of encouragement”. He would have just joined them in their pain.

Casting Crowns has a fantastic song that speaks to this type of thing. There aren’t always words that need to be said. Answers are not clear, or it might be too early for them. What do you do then? You just love them like Jesus does. Take a moment and listen to the song.

John 13:35 says, “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.

The single most defining characteristic by which a believer should be known is their love for others. Their ability to enter into another person’s pain willingly just to show that God is there for them in that moment, and we are His ambassador when all looks so dark.

I’ve had the opportunity to do this in the past and I have failed. I did not fail because I did it wrong. I failed because I chose not to do it. I decided someone else would be better, smarter, more compelling or understood. The only thing someone else was “more” of than me was loving. They didn’t think of what it might cost them, they just reacted as Christ would. Open arms and an open heart.

Today, I chose to enter into pain. It hurt. My heart is absolutely broken for them. I shared tears, and I continue to do so. I don’t pretend to feel what they feel, but I know I feel a genuine pain for them. I am praying for their situation and for God to bring comfort and peace, and to use me where He sees fit in it.

Relentless living means not taking that easy way out. It means entering into the pain with another to help hold them up. To show them that even while answers may be hard to see, the love of Christ can be evident in us, and to paraphrase the Beatles, “HIS love is all you need.”

Relentless Growth -> Grow Deep – > Grow Strong


Author: Tom Tanner

I'm a follower of Christ, husband, and father. Over the last few years I have been learning how to dig deeper into God's Word and letting it influence more of my life. As I learn, try, fail, and repeat in this process I am seeing God's hand more and more in my life and that of my family as well. This journey is long, hard, and at times a little lonely, but living a Relentless life for Christ has rewards that reach beyond me and my family. My prayer is that it brings God glory and leaves a legacy that will show His influence in my life.

2 thoughts on “Into the Pain”

  1. Having been the person who experienced heart breaking grief (my son passed 3 years ago), the people who sat next to me with not words were the most treasured. The ones who did not look away from my pain but looked straight at it and just loved me. They let me cry when I needed to and they just held me. These meant so much more than words. Thank you for being there for this person in a quiet way.


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