… and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.” Revelation 21:4 (NASB)
When I was in the sixth grade, I attended a large city school situated in a housing project on Martin Luther King Blvd in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. The school was rough, but the worst part of school was the period set aside for Physical Education (PE). Aside from everyone including the PE teachers wearing smelly t-shirts and “short shorts” that were several sizes too small, PE was where much of the rowdy behavior and prohibited activity occurred. To the best of my recollection, there was nothing educational or enjoyable about it.
One day during PE, the primary PE instructor volunteered me to help some other boys move a volleyball net from one side of the gym over to the other side. Suddenly, while moving the large net, one of the poles detached from the heavy base plate, and I was not able to move out of the way. The now unattached 260 pound steel baseplate came crashing down in full force on my foot. Excruciating pain poured through my entire body and I danced around frantically while at the same time doing everything in my power not to cry in front of the other boys.
Up to that moment, I had never experienced that amount of pain in my life, and I knew something bad had just occurred. I cautiously limped over to the PE teacher and explained how my foot had been crushed by the baseplate, but instead of showing any concern for me or my foot, the teacher told me to quit whining and to go sit down. At the same time I noticed a group of boys sitting not far away, and they were all laughing at me. I was really suffering and I was confused. Not knowing what else to do, I went to the corner of the gym and sat down. The pain was intense, and I tucked my head between my knees, wrapped my arms around my legs, and I tried not to cry.
Then it happened. While my head was tucked between my knees, I noticed a small red spot appear at the tip of my mostly white shoe. As I watched, the small red splotch grew in size. I suddenly knew what was happening, my toe was beginning to bleed through my shoe. I quickly stood up and went back the PE teacher and asked him to take another look at my foot. By now the whole toe of my shoe was covered in blood. This time the PE teacher jumped back in surprise and said “wow, you need to get to a doctor right away.” The teacher then yelled at some of the boys who had been laughing, and told them to help me get to the office. Staring at the blood, the boys stood there frozen, not knowing what to do. The PE teacher yelled again to get their attention, and motioned towards the front office.
By this time, my shoe was full of blood and I was leaving a small red puddle of blood on the floor every time my foot touched the ground. As I exited the gym every eye was on me, and somewhat surprisingly, it felt great. Certainly my foot was still injured, and the pain was definitely still there, but something about the blood actually made me feel really good.
Years later I would look back on that event again, and I realized that it was not the blood at all that made me feel so good. It was actually the fact that other people could finally see my pain. When I was hurting, the PE teacher told me to sit down and quit whining. When I was trying not to cry, other children laughed at me. When I desperately wanted someone to step in and help me, I was all alone, left with my own pain… pain that no one else could see and pain that no one else believed. That was until my pain became visible… my pain became visible in the bright red blood that filled the end of my shoe.
There is another whose pain became also visible in the bright red blood that He shed. His pain was not due to His own fault, but ours. His blood was not shed for Himself, but for us. While we were still sinners, still lost, and still casting insults at Him, He died for us so that we might live. He suffered for us so that we might be restored. He rose again so that with Him, we also might rise again. If you do not know Him, His name is Jesus, and I would love to tell you about Him and how He wiped away my tears, He took away my pain, and He swallowed up death for all time in His victory on the cross. Maybe you already know Jesus, but you are still struggling some other kind of pain… then please keep reading.
My X-rays that day revealed that the bone in my big toe had been crushed and the doctor promptly initiated surgery. With six stitches, a lot of pain killer and a boot to help protect the injured area, I was up and walking again in just a matter of days. However, it took nearly two months before I was ready to resume the same activities I had participated in before I was injured. The doctor who healed my broken toe, carefully put the pieces of my toe back together, and in so doing he not only helped me walk, he reduced my pain and helped me to run again and enjoy my life again.
Unfortunately, most people’s pain does not show up as clearly as mine did that day. More often than not, people keep their pain hidden and try to walk it off and look normal. Onlookers often expect the injured person to keep smiling and to keep acting as if everything is fine. The truth however is that everything is not fine, things are much too often very far from being fine. In fact, many times there is a wound that needs to be treated, a hurt that needs to be healed, and unacknowledged pain that needs to be felt before an injury can truly be fixed.
Today my injury from the sixth grade is ALMOST a distant memory… but as I look back on that event, I can still remember crouching down with my head between my knees, reeling in pain. I remember how bad I was hurting, and I remember how embarrassed I felt sitting there all alone. I also remember how good it felt when my pain finally became visible and others were able to see what I had been feeling and came alongside me to provide assistance.
Today there are many people, who like me, need someone outside of themselves to know their pain, to acknowledge their hurt and to lend a helping hand. If you are one of those people, then I would encourage you to share your pain with someone you know and trust in order to begin the healing process. If you do not have someone to confide in, then let me know, and I will do my best to introduce you to someone you can open your heart to and finally find some relief.