Measuring Pain

September 30, 2022

“A man of sorrows and familiar with suffering.” Isaiah 53:3

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I saw a Pain Measurement Scale on the wall during a routine doctor’s appointment  Fortunately, I wasn’t in significant pain that morning, but it did get me thinking. 

Whether it’s physical, emotional, or a combination thereof, we’re all dealing with some degree of discomfort, aren’t we? None of us are truly pain-free in this broken world, from minor frustration to a major crisis.  

So, on a scale of 1-10, how would you rate your physical/emotional pain right now?

Even if we can answer with a low number today, tomorrow’s response could change in an instant, for pain often invades our lives without warning. 

But perhaps the worst part of all is that pain can cause us to question our very beliefs about God. 

Where is He?  

Does He really care?  

Why isn’t He making it better?  

Questions like these don’t necessarily have nice, tidy answers. But the resounding message of the Bible is that God is with us in our pain. He understands. He knows what it’s like to hurt.   

If you have any doubts about these statements, look no further than Isaiah 53. 

Jesus Christ, also known as “the man of sorrows,” faced pain head-on. He didn’t merely know pain from afar, as if He’d only read about it in the library of heaven. Instead, He became a man and lived among us. He subjected Himself to horrible pain and agony, gaining an experiential knowledge of the worst the world has to offer.  

As the suffering servant of God, Jesus was “despised and rejected,” “pierced,” and “disfigured beyond human likeness” (Isaiah 53:3, 53:5,& 52:14). 

Charles Spurgeon explains, “All of the sufferings of body and soul were known to Him…Affliction emptied its quiver upon Him, making His heart the target for all conceivable woes.”

Stop and think about how remarkable this is.  

Because if you were God, wouldn’t you have accomplished your mission in a way that didn’t require you to be “familiar with suffering?” In a way where you wouldn’t be known as “the man of sorrows?”  

Wouldn’t you have taken a more kingly, regal name for yourself, such as “the man of awesomeness?”  

But God’s “ways are not our ways” (Isaiah 55:8). His way was “to crush Jesus and cause Him to suffer” (Isaiah 53:10). 

This is precisely what led hymn writer, Philip Bliss, to pen these powerful lyrics,

Man of sorrows, what a name

For the Son of God who came”

Jesus was willing to take on this name to demonstrate His great love for us. Taking our sin and suffering upon Himself, He endured the gruesome brutality of Roman crucifixion and emerged victorious on the other side. 

So, I don’t know your pain level today.  Maybe your head hurts. Maybe your heart’s been broken. Maybe your choices or the choices of another have brought pain to your doorstep. 

Though I can’t possibly know what you’re dealing with, here’s what I do know- wherever you find yourself on the Pain Measurement Scale, Jesus completely understands.

And because He conquered death, there is hope, even in our pain. 

You see, because of His resurrection, the clock is ticking towards a day when pain will be no more. We will finally be 100% pain-free. No Pain Measurement Scale necessary.

Thank you, Jesus, man of sorrows, for securing that glorious day for us.

Written by Jonathan Munson, Executive Director RFTH