Pain can be detrimental to our very existence, making every waking moment a type of crisis, not allowing us to function in the least of activities. But physical pain is not the only segment of one’s deterring movements, it sometimes is mental, spiritual, or psychological as well.
When a person is going through phases of depression because of one type of pain or loss of life’s many simple attributes, we might say where is your faith? How meaningless that could be for some or a lot of those suffering the maladies of depression. It takes a lot of grace for anyone to reach inside and find what can be elusive for the gift of faith to be found. This brings us to a very important step in understanding the connection to God’s Grace and the Gift of Faith that must be nurtured within a believer’s persona.
My thoughts on the matter of God feeling our pain is easier to explain than one may think. I am certain that the idea of God knowing what human suffering is all about would be to many an abstract thought and they might say; “God is not human, so how can He know what its like to feel my pain?” Lest we forget, God took on human flesh, being born of a woman, living as a son of Mary and His foster-father Joseph, living later as a preacher and suffering and dying for our salvation. Not only did He suffer through the time of the Paschal Mystery, but throughout His ministry he experienced rejection by those He came to save, was insulted and mocked by many who should have understood theologically his words and life-giving signs. This type of pain is just as deterring as was His Crucifixion. This was God, Incarnate, but a man like us in all things but sin. God felt pain and suffered as a man. But he also suffered as God since both natures were contained in the one person of Jesus Christ.
Now we come back to the essence of allowing the presence of God, through His Holy Spirit, an opportunity to have this spirit become one with us in our pain and suffering. How, one might say, can God who did suffer himself, actually take on our pain? The answer is easy; Think of the one lost sheep that the good shepherd left 99 to search and find, and return with it on his shoulders. And let us remember the poem “The Hound of Heaven” depicting how God doesn’t wait for us to seek Him, but He searches the hill and valleys, the paths of loneliness and fear until He finds us. How then does He reach inside of the hurting human creature and touch our pain?
When we are born and become one with Christ, the Holy Spirit enters our soul and never leaves. Yes, I said never leaves. Each time our life is invaded with pain, depression, and emptiness, and our thoughts are feeling no one cares, the Holy Spirit is knocking trying to get inside even though He has never left, but inside our deepest emotional moments and wants us to know He senses our deepest pain, knows how it hurts, and suffers with us each waking moment. This is where the grace of God is felt and our faith must be nurtured knowing He is with us and when we realize we are not suffering alone our gift of faith begins to take on a renewed essence within our very persona.
God is not an abstraction or a mythological being we can’t see or feel. He is as real as we are, but in spirit. That spirit is Holy and Perfect; He is always with us and indeed senses our pain and therefore one with us as Jesus is One with the Father and One with us there is an essence beyond what we can understand that encompasses our finite thinking and He became one with us in the Incarnation. As mentioned above, His Mother was real and since He took on human flesh the pain of suffering was real and God does feel pain.
Man cannot comprehend anything that is abstract; just sees it as it appears, but the reality of an existence beyond our understanding does not indicate it is a mere shadow of something imagined; it can be real as with God’s ability to feel pain-within us and outside of our persona. Therefore, the humanity of Christ is as real as our own humanness and as we view the Passion of Christ including the rejection of His Ministry the intensity of suffering was real and terribly inhuman. We will never know how much He suffered for us, but remember it was for us, completely and irrevocably about the salvation of our immortal souls. For that we must be forever thankful and always give praise to our Creator for Loving us so much that He would go through a painful and demeaning event as the Paschal Mystery to save each and every one of us.