THE SHEPHERD’S CORNER
I don’t always have words to say to those who are hurting. I know in times of pain, words—no matter how eloquently and lovingly said—might not be able to lift one’s spirit up, let alone lessen one’s pain. So, what I usually do is just sit with the suffering soul, hold his hand, and pray. That’s what I do this past week with Oom Tek Hian.
Pain and suffering are never far, even from those who follow God faithfully. Jeremiah is known to be a weeping prophet—he cried a lot for his beloved land, Judah and Jerusalem, ravaged and destroyed by the Babylonian army. But, inside Jeremiah was also weeping for the pain and suffering he himself had to endure.
Because of his obedience to proclaim the words of the Lord to His people—to repent of their sins or face God’s punishment, to be exiled to a foreign land—Jeremiah was subjected to physical abuse. He was “beaten and imprisoned,” and later detained in a “vaulted cell in a dungeon where he remained a long time.”
Later those people who didn’t like to hear what Jeremiah had to say about their wickedness, “took Jeremiah and put him into the cistern of Malkijah,” which had “no water in it, only mud” where he “sank down into the mud.” No wonder in his deepest pain he cried out, “Why did I ever come out of the womb to see trouble and sorrow and to end my days in shame?” We can relate to him, can’t we?
Despite pain, Jeremiah walked on; he didn’t stop and turn back. In fact, in the middle of groaning, he shouted, “Sing to the Lord! Give praise to the Lord!” Jeremiah endured! And William Barclay defines endurance as, “not just the ability to bear a hard thing, but to turn it into glory.” Yes, God turns our pain and sorrow, into His glory!