This past week I think of the more than 2,000 people who were killed in the recent earthquake in northwest China and those who will live with broken bones or permanent disabilities in their bodies. I imagine, what if I were the father who lost his children in the quake, or holding that lifeless child in my hand or burying someone dear to my heart? My thoughts also turn to those who are suffering physically where their only hope is to go under the knife of surgery to regain what they have lost, and those who need to struggle to overcome a crippling disease.
Real pain comes closer to me this past week because of my neck pain caused by bad posture at work while also praying everyday for my wife’s neck and back pain recovery. Some how I go to bed every night with an acute awareness of human suffering and praying to God to elevate all sufferings on a worldwide scale. It may be a naive prayer, but it is a prayer of a childlike faith, trusting in a good hearted Heavenly father who has nothing impossible at his disposal.
I also remembered Paul’s unanswered prayer. Paul was suffering from a painful physical ailment which he describe as “a thorn in my flesh” (2 Cor 12:7). He prayed three times but he was not healed. The answer he got was "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness" (2 Cor 12:9a NIV). Looking at his physical predicament he concluded by saying: “Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Cor 12:9b-10 NIV). All the negatives of lives cannot defeat the spirit of a person who has given his or her life to Christ in totality.
What comfort can I derive while immersing myself in the thoughts of the suffering of others and praying for them? Reasoning is not enough when pain is real and the call of death has dawned on many in the quake. Jesus said if evil fathers know how to give good gifts to their children “how much more your father in heaven will give good gifts to those who ask him” (Matthew 7:9-11). Our duty is to keep on praying and asking by faith knowing that if I can feel the pain of others, or even my own pain, how much more God would feel my pain and the pain of everyone. He is the God of the how much more for you and me.