There is no pain quite as deep and dark as that which is experienced in isolation. You may know this first hand. Hopefully, you’ve also experienced the converse–the strength and encouragement of having someone to lean on when it felt as if your legs might soon give way. As my guest, Julie Holmquist shares today, God doesn’t want any of us to feel alone. He wants us vitally and intimately connected, in good times but especially in the hard.
You Are Not Alone
By Julie Holmquist
Having just had my twins prematurely by an emergency c-section and unable to nurse them, I felt painfully alone. With hormones raging and the chaos of being a first-time mom, I frantically tried to find someone who was farther along in this journey to help me navigate the twists and turns; however, there was no one to be found. Often I cried myself to sleep asking God to send someone who would “get me!”
No one in my family or close circle of friends ever had twins, preemies or a c-section. To top it off, it seemed like everyone else was able to nurse their babies.
There was no one to share my struggle with.
Pain Isolates Us
Pain doesn’t discriminate between gender, socioeconomic status or skin color. It doesn’t adhere to geographical borders, political ideologies, or classes of society. It’s a common thread we all share.
Why is it, then, that we so often feel isolated like no one truly knows or even cares about what we’re going through?
What Does Scripture Say About Pain?
The Bible promises us that He works everything out for our good (Romans 8:28), in heaven there will be no more crying (Revelation 21:4) and weeping endures for a night, but joy comes in the morning (Psalm 30:5).
But what does the Bible say about pain when we’re in the middle of the mess?
Shared Pain is Diminished Pain.
John 11:35 says, “Jesus wept” (NIV*). It is the shortest verse of the Bible, yet those two words pack such a powerful reminder that, just as Jesus physically entered our world, He also entered our pain.
John 11 tells us the story of the death of a man named Lazarus, Jesus’ friend. When Jesus arrived, He knew He was about to unleash resurrection power and Lazarus would live again. Yet when He saw Mary and Martha grieving and weeping over the loss of their brother, He was moved to tears and wept right alongside them.
Jesus didn’t scold them saying, “Get over it! Stop crying! Don’t you know what I am about to do?” Instead, He entered their pain and wept with them. He knew death would not have the final say in Lazarus’ life at that moment. Perhaps He wept simply because His friends were weeping.
When Jesus got to the tomb, He told them to roll away the stone from the tomb’s entrance. Martha, Lazarus’ sister, warned Him that Lazarus had been dead for four days, and certainly it would stink if they did. Jesus then said to her, “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?” (John 11:40, NIV*). They proceeded to do ask Christ had asked. Then Jesus prayed to His heavenly Father, and commanded Lazarus to come out. Still bound in his grave clothes, Lazarus exited the tomb. Jesus then instructed those who were there to take off Lazarus’ grave clothes and to let him go.
Jesus loved them enough to meet them where they were but then rewrote their story through grace.
John 15:15 tells us that Jesus calls us friends. Romans 12:15 says that we are to rejoice with those who are rejoicing and to weep with those who are weeping. If you’re going through hard times, you aren’t alone. Jesus hurts because you hurt. He’s not a passive observer sitting on the sidelines watching things happen to you. He’s a very real and active participant in your life.
So when your husband cannot understand what you are going through, your best friend is super busy, and your family doesn’t know what to say, know: You aren’t alone in your struggle! God is closer than you think and always with you. And if by chance He sends someone your way who can share in your struggle, you’ll know He sent them.
Let’s Talk About This!
There’s a difference between empathy and sympathy. Jesus doesn’t feel sorry for us, but He does feel what we feel. He empathizes with us in a friend’s text at just the right moment, a song that stirs our hearts, or a friend who’s traveled the same hard road you have. I want to encourage you in the midst of a struggle to first turn to Him because He cares for you. Second, I ask God to send some people in your path who may have experienced something similar and can speak to your pain. You are not alone.
Is there an area in your life you feel alone? Where can you see Jesus empathizing with you?
*THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Get to Know Julie
Julie Holmquist is an author who currently writes on her blog at Stuff of Heaven and is also a contributing author for Devotableapp.com. Julie has written and produced video devotionals as well. She graduated from Christ for the Nations Bible school in Dallas, TX and holds an associates degree in practical theology. She enjoys all things personality and has probably taken every personality test there is (ENTP and an Enneagram 7w8). Julie loves the body of Christ (the Church) and smiles BIG when people are passionate about walking in their God-given callings and giftings–whatever they may be.
She and her husband have four sons and recently relocated to Charlotte, NC from Colorado Springs, CO.
You can find Julie online at her blog, Stuff of Heaven, follow her on Instagram at Stuff of Heaven and at Twitter at Stuff of Heaven,and connect with her on Facebook at Stuff of Heaven (Julie Holmquist)