Category Archives: pain

One Word

Millet, Jean François, 1814-1875  ca. 1865-1866 black conté crayon and pastel on paper   Clark Art Institute Williamstown, MA

Millet, Jean François, 1814-1875
The Sower, ca. 1865-1866
black conté crayon and pastel on paper
Clark Art Institute Williamstown, MA

[And he spoke to them at length in parables, saying:] “But the seed sown on rich soil is the one who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and yields a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold.” Matthew 13:23

Today is a bad pain day. It is taking most of my energy to breathe. The soil I have to offer the Lord feels stony, weed-infested, and prickly with thorns. How can I hope to bear any fruit at all?

By letting go of self-pity, self-judgment, self-loathing and opening my mouth to say the one Word that heals: Jesus.

Time to rest

I will give you rest

James Tissot (1836-1902)
Jésus engage les apôtres à se reposer (Jesus Commands the Apostles to Rest)
between 1886 and 1894
opaque watercolor over graphite on gray wove paper
Brooklyn Musuem

[Jesus said,] “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28

I know some days I am heavy with pain, fatigue, and discouragement. I know others carry heavy responsibilities, grief, and stress. I know the world is heavy with violence, racism, and injustice.

I don’t know how to heal the heaviness. But Jesus does. I will practice turning my attention to Jesus. I will trust him with my burdens, the burdens of others, and the world’s burdens. I will rest from my tendency to do-it-myself and let Jesus help me through the day.

With compassion

The Three Crosses

Rembrandt (1606-1669)
The Three Crosses, 1653
drypoint and burin on paper (III/IV)
Rijksmuseum Amsterdam
via Wikimedia Commons

After they had crucified him, they divided his garments by casting lots; then they sat down and kept watch over him there.
And they placed over his head the written charge against him: “This is Jesus, the King of the Jews.” Two revolutionaries were crucified with him, one on his right and the other on his left. Matthew 27:35-38

If I ever doubt that Jesus understands the suffering I experience, let me contemplate the cross with its reverberations of torturous pain, shaming ridicule, forlorn abandonment, and crushing despair.

A Desert of Pain



At that time Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert
to be tempted by the devil. Matthew 4:1

Chronic pain is probably the most distracting, tiring, energy-draining, hope-depleting experience I’ve ever had. Last night’s wakefulness kept me struggling to put my focus on God. “Help!” was as complicated as my prayers got.

Whether or not I believe God is with me in the desert of pain, God is there. Whether or not I can feel God in the bleakness of pain, God is there. Whether or not I continue to experience physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual pain, God is there. In the moment, in the pain, in the prayer.

I told the devil last night, “You ain’t gonna get me yet.”