And Jesus Wept
A Pastor’s Look at Pain
100 West 12th Street
Post Falls, ID 83854
Why is it that modern life has such a numbing effect on people? Ask the average person what he did on Saturday, two weeks ago, and chances are he won’t be able to tell you. Obviously, most of us pass our days in a daze. We don’t “smell the flowers” or see the kitten’s whiskers. And although we sometimes feel the winds of Autumn only because it slaps us in the face, we don’t enjoy the changing color of the leaves, the geese in their formations flying south or our pet’s fur growing thicker. We have filled our lives with so many responsibilities and selfish pleasures that much of what goes on all around us is only mentally processed and then neatly filed away – computer-like. Rarely is it truly experienced and enjoyed.
Most people require a sudden jolt of some kind to make them stop, open up their senses, and really pay attention to life. This is true of people in every strata of society. Sometimes the jolt needed to get us out of our lethargy is the literal shock of some kind of “pain,” either in ourselves or in someone close to us.
These articles have been prepared for two kinds of people: those who are in the midst of that kind of shock, and for those who will soon join them. The statisticians tell us: we’ve either been in a recent car accident, or we’re going to be in one soon. Similarly, if we’re not hurting today, there is a good likelihood that we will be next week or next month.
This book has been written by a minister of the gospel – a pastor – a student of both the Word of God and of people. The pastorate is, among other things, a kind of spiritual and emotional seismographic station, feeling, measuring, and recording the shockwaves around it. Like the seismologist, the pastor also knows that there is an urgent need to try to anticipate, alleviate, and array people for the future quakes and their aftershocks.
These things underlie the purpose of these pages. All around us people are feeling the tremors of earth-shattering pain.
Some sociologists consider pain and trauma to be significant steps in a person’s individualization. If you stop and think about it, everybody’s pain is unique and, along with other factors, makes us different from our neighbors. Normally, there is no way to really feel most of what others are feeling. Oh, but we can feel FOR those people, and that is precisely the point. Pastors and their families suffer like everyone else, but in addition to their own troubles, there come the aches and sorrows of the people with whom they labor. In other words, although pain is a highly individual and personal experience, the expression of pain on people’s faces, the cry of pain in their voice, and the signals for sympathy and help, quickly register on the properly attuned pastoral seismograph. The son who has become a prodigal; the horrible midnight telephone call; the grandmother neglected; the arthritic hands of the talented pianist; the cancer-filled deacon; the lost family fortune; the teen-age pregnancy; the failing scholar, and so much more, are all felt by the loving pastoral “under-shepherd.”
It is to the people in the earthquake zone that this material is dedicated. For them, the word “pain” here may not be confined to any specific variety. To one it may be physical, like the aching of rheumatoid arthritis, but in the mean time another’s pain may be emotional, and a third suffers unbearable spiritual anguish. All of these are real and demand understanding and treatment. As a Gospel minister, the author feels that the place to begin this investigation is with the Bible. If psychology, philosophy or medicine contribute to our thoughts, it must be in light of God’s Word and not the other way around. It is in Jesus Christ, the Living Word, that “are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Col. 2:3), and it was because the Bible pen-men, like the Apostle Paul, knew Christ and trusted Him that they had the confidence of never being ashamed in the midst of their sufferings (II Timothy 1:12). Through Christ and His Word we must weigh the opinions and conclusions of men. This is Bible doctrine.
It is also our doctrine that “the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God” (I Cor. 2:14), therefore only the true Christian will be helped significantly by the words which follow.
It will become apparent that some research has been done into the ideas of other men. Many thoughts here are obviously not original, and most will be duly noted. At the conclusion of this book are references to some of the works of others that may be worthy of further reading.
The Bible, our primary source of information is, of course, inspired of God. The author whole-heartedly believes that “all scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is (therefore) profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works” (II Timothy 3:16-17). It is to help us in this “instruction” and “perfection” that these pages have been written. The Bible version quoted herein will be the “Authorized Version” (King James Version) of 1611. This is, after all, the preserved, and authoritative Word of God.