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Where Is God When You’re in Pain?
By Rick Warren

“The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34:18 (ESV)

God shares the pain of every single person—including you. When you’re hurting, he isn’t distant, aloof, or unfeeling. He is aware of your pain, and he cares. And he even shares the pain with you.

God the Father shares your pain so naturally because he created you. The Bible says, “The one who formed their hearts understands everything they do” (Psalm 33:15 GW). In other words, God is never shocked by your emotions or your thoughts. He understands why you do what you do better than even you understand. He is more than capable to share your pain.

Jesus, God’s Son, shares your pain because he suffered it on Earth. Hebrews 4:15 says: “Jesus understands every weakness of ours, because he was tempted in every way that we are” (CEV). 

He understands emotional pain, like abandonment, loneliness, criticism, discrimination, rejection, and betrayal. Jesus also understands physical pain. Can you imagine being on the cross and carrying the guilt of every evil thing done throughout history? His death on the cross was the worst kind of physical pain.

The Holy Spirit also shares your pain. How? When you don't know how to pray, the Holy Spirit is praying for you. The Bible promises, “The moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans” (Romans 8:26 The Message).

Where is God when you’re in pain? He's grieving with you. He's standing by you. He knows what it’s like to suffer, and he has compassion for you.

He's not some aloof God who says, “Oh, I'm sorry you're hurt.” That’s sympathy. Empathy says, “I hurt with you.” But compassion says, “I'll do anything I can to stop your hurt.” That's what Jesus did. His compassion took him all the way to the cross.

If you are in pain this Christmas, remember Psalm 34:18: “The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit” (ESV).

You're never closer to God than when you have a broken heart. He is there, he cares, and he shares your pain.

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This devotional © 2018 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

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