The Price of Identifying

  • Feb. 17, 2016
  • #8818

Suffering pain and sorrow connects us to Christ, who understands our pain because He experienced it himself as a man. 

The Price of Identifying

Hi, I’m Joni Eareckson Tada and if you’re hurting, I have an uplifting word.

When we are hurting, when we are struggling with a bad back or arthritis in our hip or neck or whatever, if there is one thing that eases our pain, it is this: we want someone to understand. We want somebody to really identify with us, to have some idea of what we're enduring. Somehow, someway it validates what we are going through. That we’re not out there all alone on a limb by ourselves, we want to experience a fellowship with others who are going through the same thing.

I tell you what; it is certainly like that for me. I hate feeling alone and alienated in those dark times when my paralysis seems overwhelming. On my really rough days, it helps to remember Hebrews chapter 2, verse 14 where it says, "Since the children have flesh and blood, [Jesus] too shared in their humanity." Wow! Jesus is at one with Christians on many levels, but perhaps the most meaningful identification is the fact that he, too, experienced suffering and pain and anguish. It says that He was tested and tried in every way like us. That helps! It really helps to know that! When it comes to your suffering, the Lord Jesus has gone ahead of you, friend, and He has intimate, experiential, firsthand knowledge of the pain, the weight, the frustration, and the struggle that you are facing. He appreciates the depth of your anguish. He understands how bad – how really bad – it hurts. He connects and He cares.

But here is the neat thing: it works both ways! Not only does Christ identify with us in our suffering, we identify with Him in His suffering. He identifies with us, and we identify with Him. He appreciates all that it means to be human, and we appreciate all that His divine grace supplies. Through suffering, He participates in our humanity; and through suffering, we participate in His divinity. He has conquered and overcome and so we are made more than conquerors; we are overcomers.

So why do we struggle so to escape our suffering? Why do we look so desperately for release? First, it is reasonable to seek for a release and relief from pain. If it can be fixed, then fix it! But chronic things like, well, my quadriplegia? I'm not desperate for release when it comes to that. Pain, yes, but not necessarily my paralysis. And I suppose this is why I'm not earnestly seeking to be healed and raised up out of my wheelchair, because I see this trial of mine as a window into the heart of Jesus. Suffering is a connecting point between my Savior and me. I know He is showing me wondrous things about His grace that, without my wheelchair, I just might not understand; I might not grasp. And when I see His great love on the cross, it gives me courage to take up my cross and follow Him.      

Do you want someone to understand what you are going through today? Turn to Jesus. When you do, you will better understand what He has gone through for you.

To encourage you on, I’d like to give you a free gift of a handful of my tracts and booklets that I’ve written about heaven. What a glorious day that will be when all suffering will be behind us forever. And in an instant, as soon as we get to heaven it, will more than suffice for all the pain we endure here on earth. So go to my radio page today would you, at and pick up your free booklets on heaven. Finally, do not run away from the Lord in your pain, run to Him, because He understands.


© Joni and Friends


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