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Where does it hurt?

“Where have you laid him? […] Lord come and see.” (John 11:34)

Jesus provides the perfect example of how do to deal with the problem of pain that I suspect most mothers can identify with — show me where it hurts. I am sure most Bajan mothers have said something along the lines of, “Cuh’ dear, show mummy where it hurting”.

Jesus in effect says the same thing to Mary when he asks to be taken to the location of her brother’s body — Show me where it hurts, lead me to your pain. He is also interested in your pain and would like to see exactly where it hurts — unemployed, broken relationships, sick relative, mourning the loss of a loved one, abused, neglected, fed up, cupboards empty, business prospects look grim? Where ever or whatever it is that is hurting he would like to see.

Perhaps, like Mary, you think that if he were there in the first place this would have never happened and you would not be hurting, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” Perhaps; but maybe this was the only way he could get your undivided attention.

As C. S. Lewis wrote, “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our consciences, but shouts in our pains. It is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” Of course there will be detractors. In Mary’s time it was, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man also have kept this man from dying?” Today’s version is, “What kind of God would allow [insert tragic situation here]?”

We will ignore, for the sake of brevity, the fact that such a morally loaded question is pointless in a godless world where morality cannot be adequately anchored. Quite simply, why care about anything if we are the random product of chance? Matter should not matter in such a world.

Thankfully, he still acts in the midst of doubters, naysayers and “haters” (if you will) because your pain, your tears (which the honest naturalist reduces to “nothing but” chemical secretions) matter to him. He wept at the sight of Mary’s pain and weeps at the sight of yours.

So show him where it hurts, right now if you wish, because your tears are more than water, salt and lysozyme to him. The same way he spoke to Mary’s situation — “Lazarus come out” — he can speak to yours.

Friends, experts, symposiums, panel discussions and other talk shops all have their place but, perhaps what is needed right now is: “Jesus said to them”, “Jesus told them plainly”, “Jesus answered” or “But when Jesus heard it he said…”. When he speaks, good things happen, even to bad situations.

— Adrian Sobers

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