You Are Not Alone in Your Trouble
In January 2021, the news reported the story of an aircraft accident which took place near Chicago’s O’Hare airport. On its approach the single-engine Pilatus PC-12 inexplicably lost its left wheel over a neighborhood. Fortunately, the plane and its crew – along with its seven passengers, landed safely. Onlookers, however, reported seeing a trail of sparks when the aircraft’s wheel-less strut connected with the runway.
All was well, right? Well, not exactly. There was the other issue of the missing wheel. Where in the neighborhood did it land? And what damage did it do to homes – or what harm did it cause to people? Fortunately – again, the wheel landed on the front yard of a home in this crowded neighborhood. No injuries or property damage was reported.
Think about it. Whenever a plane loses a critical part like an engine, rudder, stabilizer, or part of its landing gear – it is quite perilous to those on the plane. But they are not alone in their peril. The loss of a critical part of the plane is also a grave concern for those on the ground. In a real sense, no one is alone in their suffering. A bad event for one person tends to hurt others, whether directly or indirectly.
When reading this story an event several years ago came to mind. My wife and I were about to move from my last duty station (Joint Base Lewis-Mc Chord) to Springfield, Missouri to assist in a ministry to military members and their families. At the same time my daughter was involved in a custody battle with her ex. The possibility of losing two of her children weighed heavily on my daughter – but also on my wife and me.
On top of this we were scrambling to fix up our home to make it ready to sell. At one point during this time, my wife broke down and cried while visiting my daughter. Later my daughter remarked to me, “What’s Mom so upset about? I’m the one who’s losing her children.”
She was right. She was the one in the lion’s den. But in a real sense, we were in there with her. Her custody battle, which she lost, was taking its toll on us as well. In a real sense, we were right there in that courtroom with her – though separated by nearly 2,000 miles. She may have felt alone and abandoned, but there were two parents who agonized over her loss.
For the person who’s in the lion’s den, engulfed by anxiety, he or she needs to realize they are not alone. There are many others who feel their pain and agonize over their suffering. And they hold the suffering brother or sister up in prayer to God. They invest their love, heart, and voice to plead with God for their provision, deliverance, and healing. So invested are these brothers and sisters in Christ, that the suffering person’s crisis has the potential of bringing them down as well.
Friend, honesty and faith demands that we extend this concept to our heavenly Father. What we suffer in this life weighs heavily upon Him as well. “In all their affliction, He was afflicted,” wrote Isaiah (Isaiah 63:9). It is impossible for God, who’s invested the riches of heaven and His own Son’s blood to save us, to be immune to our pain. Our heavenly Father only has the tenderest feelings for us. Whenever we feel He’s unmoved by our suffering, we need to remember His word. “Can a woman forget her nursing child, that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you” (Isaiah 49:15).
And what about our Lord Jesus? Is it possible that He – who’s personally suffered every bit of our abuse, rejection, stress, and injustice – is unmoved be what He watches us endure (Hebrews 2:18; 4:15)? Doesn’t His heart go out to us and grieve for us?
“Why, then, does God not intervene to help us?” we may ask. But He does intervene – constantly. God is forever sending us His grace and the provision of His Holy Spirit that we might endure the trial. He strengthens our inner person so that our faith does not fail. And God’s intense but loving scrutiny of our lives makes it impossible for Him to overlook any detail. When He allows us to be tested, He monitors all our vital signs and faithfully keeps us from our breaking point (1 Corinthians 10:13).
And, please remember, God takes no pleasure in our suffering. When it comes to our affliction, God only permits what He must. And it’s all for our eternal good – to make us more like His glorious Son and to make us fit for eternity in heaven.
PRAYER: Dear Father in heaven, please open my eyes to see that I am not alone in my suffering. Remind me of my brothers and sisters in the faith who plead to You on my behalf. Remind me also, O Lord, of Your great love and meticulous care for me. As a mother cannot forsake her nursing child, neither can You forget me. Amen.