Sometimes we go through pain. Sometimes the pain is physical; often is it emotional. We hurt where no-one can put a band-aid. We long to just tell someone how we feel, but struggle to put into the inadequacy of mere words just how ghastly this is for us. So we continue, trying to somehow make it through the darkness, without even the blessed awareness that this darkness is actually a tunnel. At least then we could live in the hope that it will eventually have to have an exit, and that it must, by definition, have a direction.
Sometimes the darkness is so enveloping, that we feel we are going round in circles. That we will never emerge, and are stuck forever.
It is at such times that we long to tell someone how difficult things are, to break the fear that we are stuck here ALONE. The tragedy is that so often, when we summon up the courage to admit to someone how it feels, that the most well-meaning people will try to say the immortal words, “ I know exactly how you feel”. It is meant kindly, but often has the opposite reaction to the one that could be expected. For however similar the experiences may be, no two experiences are exactly the same. The effect on the one hearing these words is to retreat even further back into the tunnel, and decide that it is not worth ever trying to share the pain again. Such commiserators are often waiting for a gap in the conversation to tell you how they are also in pain, which rarely actually helps.
But the tunnel started to lighten… for the reality of this Easter Day is that there is one person in the Universe who can say these words – and MEAN WHAT HE SAYS. God, in the person of His Son Jesus, did not stay in Heaven, observing our pain, shaking His head, saying “I know exactly how they feel”- and stay put. He chose to suffer the ignominy of full identification with us, to become human, to lay aside all the rights and privileges of Godhood, to take upon Himself the pain, sin and suffering of the entirety of humanity, past, present and future. To fully and totally become one with us, in order to be able to weep with us. But it was never in the way of someone who wants to share their pain to garner our sympathy. It is, and always will be, from the perspective of one who has been there, but has emerged on the other side. His path out of a tomb, a place we would normally consider absolutely final, demonstrates that He is able to make a path out of any tunnel, any darkness, and take us by the hand through to the other side. We do not need a Saviour who is just “acquainted with our grief” (Isaiah 53:3), but One who emerges victorious from it. We need a Survivor, who does know exactly how we feel, to hold us close, and show us that God makes ways where there are no ways.
On this blessed Easter Sunday, visualise yourself by His side, stepping out of the tomb of your pain, into the new day, the new beginning, the new destiny that lies beyond all you have suffered.
You are Never Alone.