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Screams of pain

The world’s pain is something that continues to perplex and provoke me. I’ve held the hands of dying people, I’ve listened to them pour out their fears and pain. I’ve written about it and processed it. But when I read an account like Neil’s I’m still left speechless. I walked into the children’s…
By Seth Barnes
By Seth Barnes
The world’s pain is something that continues to perplex and provoke me. I’ve held the hands of dying people, I’ve listened to them pour out their fears and pain. I’ve written about it and processed it. But when I read an account like Neil’s I’m still left speechless.

I walked into the children’s ward at the hospital to screams of
agonizing pain.  I looked around to see where they were coming from. 
Ryan my teammate pointed to a 10 year old boy laying in a steel framed
hospital bed by the far wall.  The boy was lying naked in the fetal
position grabbing at his knee that had been dressed with an inch of
bandage cloth.  I recognized the boy at once. 

Two days ago I was visiting the hospital and he had a bright smile on
his face.  He walked me around by the hand and pointed at things he
wanted me to draw in his notepad.  Last time he pointed to a friendly
giraffe painted on the wall.  But now there was no pointing only
grabbing at his wounded knee.   No one in the ward seemed to notice his
ear numbing screams.  I covered his naked body with the bed sheet.  I
noticed the sheet had big blotches of dry blood.  I held his hand and
began to pray for peace and healing to come into his body.  His
water-filled eyes met mine. 

His screams died to whimpering.  I began to sing softly to him.  But
the pain would come back like electrical shocks every few minutes.  His
neck would crane back as far as it could as he let out shouts of
terror.  I felt so helpless and frustrated that my prayers didn’t seem
to lift his pain from his body.  I tried to be strong for him and look
him gently in his eyes and tell him it was going to be ok.  Where is
your mom, I thought?  Why is no one here for you? 
 Why indeed. Why? Why? Why?
We’ve read C.S. Lewis and other wise men explain how we need pain. How without the possibility of pain can there be joy? And yet, there’s a 10 year-old in a Swazi hospital who lays naked and screaming. God help us if we’re unmoved or if we’re facile in our response. Maybe you can help us move toward a place of peace or comfort as we wrestle with this today. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Comments (6)

  • Pain in the world is one part of the drama. The Good News of the Gospel is the other. The theatrical production of possibility awaits the next act. That is us empowered by Jesus.

  • It’s easy to wax lyrical about the redemptive qualities of pain in our lives. About how God will bring good out of bad. About how pain helps us grow. But when you stand helpless next to someone in pain all those words dry up in your mouth.

    The thing I hold tightly to is this: That, no matter how it looks and feels, the safest place of all you can put someone precious is into the tender hands of God. You may love someone so deeply and ache for them like you could burst with it, but He loves them more and He carried every ounce of their pain in His body already on the cross. What I feel when I ache helplessly for another overwhelms me at times, but He feels it more. I don’t know how He stands it sometimes when you magnify that by all the people who have ever lived.

    All I can do with those times is pray, deliberately placing them safely into His hands and doing my utmost to trust Him that He is good, that He really does love them passionately, that He knows what they need and He isn’t powerless to reach them. He may not answer like I wish He would, but He is more present than I imagine. I still walk away with my questions and the disturbance in my soul over what I see, but my prayer, my concern, my compassion may be the catalyst to His hand reaching even deeper for them. I just have to choose to trust Him with everything I don’t understand and still believe He is good.

  • freind in a nutshell it is easy to see THAT DESIRES OF HUMANITY OBEDIANCE TO HIS WORD and the devil the exact opposite

    The LOVE OF GOD IN MAN FOR MAN never kills man

  • Pain is a word that resonates deeply in my life.This morning I was sitting in the foyer of my home church knowing I needed to be hear but not wanting to be amongst others,for the pain had risen to the surface again!Some teenage foster kids came along and I was able to minister to them.They relate with me because I can empathise with the hell theyve experienced and they know I care.They moved on and another young man came and sat with me.This next teenage boy is a stark contrast from the others.He comes from a stable enviroment,and seems to be what I always aspired to be at that age.That is popular smart comes from a seemingly good home etc…As we were talking about school,grades,favorite subjects,and faith he says to me if there was one thing in the world he could change.Hed make more people like me!!.He moved on and I started to cry.God uses pain in our lives so we can minister because its universal and the only door that Christ comes in initially.That is were convicted we cry out and Jesus answers.Then he uses us both through those wounded parts in us,and the parts that are already conformed into his image.PAIN IS A TESTIMONY we all share CHRIST love joy and healing testifys of his strength to overcome everything the enemy tries to use to keep us down and destroy us.Then I read this blog today and I have to share GoDS goodness.

  • Only today[March 24, 2010] I have discovered your blog. And my, I was more than just inspired, I was revolutionized. Though all these times, I have done some good things in helping other people but I know and I believe that God has a bigger plan for me to make a radical change and to really follow the journey of helping and reaching more people for Him. I have been living out my life as an artist and creative designer but tonight a question has strike me as I read your posts here- “What am I doing?” I know, way back then, I have given my life to serve Him through helping other people.
    I don’t know the where and the how but all I know is the what and the who of my calling. Please pray for me. I want to make a difference.
    I just want you to know that my heart was re-opened once again and have seen again the vision that God has set in my heart. You are a blessing, man.

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Seth Barnes

I'm motivated to join God in his global reclamation project. He's on the move, setting his sons and daughters free from their places of captivity. And he's partnering with those of us who have been freed to go and free others.

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