At a men's prayer meeting several years ago, I learned a valuable lesson that would change and shape my thinking for the rest of my life.
I was going through an extremely difficult time and there were a number of major problems "on my plate". The group was large, so we split into smaller groups of eight to ten.
One man was sharing his problems with the group and asking for prayer. He was very distraught and obviously quite upset and hurting over the circumstances he was experiencing. As he was describing his problems, I heard these words form in my mind, "Man, if that's all that is wrong with you, you're having a good day!" (I was comparing my situation to his, thinking, "You don't even know what problems are!")
Immediately, I heard another voice from deep inside of me. I knew that voice. God's words were simple, yet profound. All He said was, "Randall, pain is pain."
In that moment, I understood.
While I saw my experiences as being "worse" than the other man's, from the other man's perspective, he was hurting. That's all he knew. It hurt. Period. So did I.
That lesson has helped me relate to others in a far deeper and more compassionate way than I ever could have before. I think about that day often when I am talking with others and listening to their problems. "Pain is pain." The words resound deep within me. It is not necessary for me to feel exactly what they are feeling. All I need to know is that they are hurting. I know what it feels like to hurt.
The next time you feel as though no one understands, no one knows what you are feeling, no one could ever have experienced your pain, remember, "pain is pain". Jesus knows what it feels like to hurt. Pain touched His life in so many ways. It was one of the reasons He came. He experienced it. He understands. He knows. "Pain is pain."
I assure you from experience, God can heal a broken heart. He can soothe your pain. He is the only one who can. He knows what you are feeling, and He cares.
Always remember that when you hurt, He is hurting too--for you.
Let Him heal your pain and make you stronger than you ever could have been before. He did that for me. And if He did it for me, He will do it for you. Trust Him.
G. Randall Vaughn