It all begins with Pain
"The paradox indeed is that the beginning of healing is in the solidarity with the pain... the wanting to alleviate pain without sharing it is like wanting to save a child from a burning house without the risk of being hurt." Henri Nouwen, from his book Reaching out: Three movements of the Spiritual life.
The core questions of life, ministry, mission, and even hope center around how we deal with pain: our pains, the pains of others, our culture's pain, even humanity's pain. How we deal, or in many instances, refuse to deal with these pains paints a picture of our vitality and what it truly means to live.
I have shared many times with many people that God began to deal with me several years ago about this concept of wanting to extinguish pain without actually entering into to it. I had always grown up with the concept as a healthy understanding of healing and service. However, as I desire to follow the ultimate healer more closely, I am finding that Jesus radically entered our pain, idenitfied with us, and shared in our sufferings as a means of healing and hope. Have you ever considered that Jesus could have healed and manifested himself without an incarnation (without putting on a human body and entering the world). However, he chose to enter into the world, not as a wealthy, but impoverished, not in power, but in humility.
I am convinced that true ministry and true healing (by the way, if we are ministering to others and there is no healing, then we should reconsider our approach) begins when we start with pain. It begins when we have the courage to drop the shields, the comforts, the barriers to experience, enter, and identify with the pains of others. I am quite sensitive to the possibility of the "overwhelmingness" of the situation, but I am learning slowly, that it is this "overwhelmingness" of the pain that drives us deep into the solace, comfort, and power of God. It is at that point, where God's spirit within is free to love, comfort, and bless through you.
Compassion literally means to "suffer with". Are we so guarded with our hearts that the things that matter to Jesus no longer matter to us? Who are you willing to suffer for? What pains in this community, this nation, and this world have you allowed to overwhelm you until you fall on your knees in solidarity and cry out to God Almighty.
Simply, it all begins with pain.
Pastor M Traylor