Usually I gain a few holiday pounds during the Christmas season. I enjoy baking, cooking, and indulging in all the extra holiday treats at family gatherings and parties. But….this year was different.
Although I never had an official diagnosis (I figured it may have been some kind of virus, since it disappeared after a week), I experienced pain along the right side of my jaw, throat, and radiating up to my ear. Eating food brought searing pain instead of enjoyment.
I still enjoyed decorating Christmas cookies with my boys, but being unable to nibble on the delicious treats was SO disappointing! It definitely took some of the sparkle out of our yearly tradition.
As I made our favorite dark chocolate fudge, I tried a tiny bit.
I paid for it when the pain of chewing made my eyes well up with tears. What??? No fudge for Christmas?
At our Christmas Eve family gathering, I carefully ate a few tablespoons of food, cut into small pieces. Christmas Day I woke up in the wee hours of the morning, absolutely starving. But realizing that a trek out to the kitchen for a bite to eat would only result in more pain, I rolled over and eventually went back to sleep.
After a few days, my pain lessened and I was able to eat normally again. At our New Year’s party, I took great delight in partaking in a host of sweet treats! 🙂
But that week of being unable to eat while EVERYONE around me was feasting?
Well, that was NOT fun.
Watching my friends and family eating with great pleasure only heightened the empty feeling in my stomach.
That’s the way of pain, isn’t it? The joy of others can send us spiraling into more pain, even when we fight against it.
I’ve seen this pain in the unshed tears of the woman whose arms are still empty after years of praying, while she sits quietly through yet another baby shower. Yes, she’s happy for her friend, but her heart aches with unfulfilled dreams of motherhood.
I’ve seen this pain in the eyes of the girl who has worn many bridesmaids dresses, but no bridal gown. The years keep passing, and still she goes home alone every night, wondering if God has forgotten her.
I’ve seen this pain on the worn faces of sweet widows at anniversary celebrations. They smile and offer their congratulations, but their hearts ache for their loved ones gone before them into Heaven.
And I’ve experienced the pain of slipping off my wedding ring for the last time, then going to church and seeing a man slip his arm around his wife and pull her close. Yes, I was happy for them. But their joy seemed to make the pain of my heart cut deeper.
My friend, I’m here to tell you there is One Who understands your pain. Jesus left the bliss and beauty of Heaven to come to earth to save us. And while He was here, He suffered every pain we experience.
Although He could have whisked away all the physical and emotional pain He faced, He chose to endure it. He suffered loss, betrayal, and distrust. He offered His love freely and was rejected, mocked, and abused. Eventually He was crucified, enduring unimaginable physical pain.
Scripture tells us that because Jesus experienced everything we face, He is able to help us.
“For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.
Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:15-16)
Jesus is able to comfort you in your pain, because He has already gone through it. He knows the ache of loneliness, the sting of betrayal, and the pain of rejection.
And not only does He know, He will one day erase that pain for all of eternity.
We read in Revelation 21:4, “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain; for the former things are passed away.”
All the pain that fills your heart today won’t even be a memory. It will be forever gone.
I once heard a preacher describe eternity this way:
Imagine if a sparrow had the strength to fly around the earth without stopping for years on end. Each time the sparrow flies over Mount Everest, it touches the tip of its wing on the top of the mountain. Then it flies another circuit around the entire world.
When Mount Everest is worn flat from the feathers of the sparrow’s wing, eternity has just begun.
Yes, the pain cuts deep today. But one day, it will be gone forever.
And until that day, Jesus our Comforter holds us safe in His arms.
“Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.” (Psalm 30:5)
For information on my devotional book, Tales from Toddlers, click HERE.