Empathy is defined as “your pain in my heart”.  How do we develop empathy if we never experience pain or hurt, sickness or the loss of a loved one, either through death or the ending of a relationship?
Oswald Chambers writes “Suffering either gives me to myself or it destroys me.  The only way to find yourself is in the fires of sorrow.  Why it should be this way is immaterial.  The fact is that it is true in the Scriptures and in human experience.  You can always know that you can go to him, who has suffered, in your moment of trouble and find that he has plenty of time for you.  But if a person has not been through the fires of sorrow, he is apt to be contemptuous, having no respect or time for you, only turning you away.  If you receive yourself in the fires of sorrow God will make you nourishment for other people".

My sister once wrote me a letter and this is what she said "I think we are blessed in a wonderfully paradoxical way, because our capacity - huge capacity - for healing has been carved and hollowed out through out experiences of pain and feelings of rejection, feelings of never quite being good enough, through our failures, through our unmet expectations, and disappointments with ourselves and others - suffering is so intimately connected to wholeness.  Perhaps wisdom is simply a matter of waiting and healing a question of time"

It has been through my times of pain and sorrow that I have grown the most as a person. It is also during those times that I have actively sought God and prayed the most!
Nick Vujicic, a man born without arms or legs has this to say:  “I love how God lets us go through difficult challenges to help each other and encourage one another.  The challenges in our lives are there to strengthen our convictions.  They are not there to run us over”.

A man who I never met, put into words what God ‘is’ and those words have had a major impact on my life and my relationship with God.  His name was Andre le Roux and he was a Methodist minister.  He wrote a letter on the 26/05/2010 after being given the news that despite the chemotherapy treatment he had been undergoing, the cancer in his body was continuing to grow and spread.  Below is a portion of that letter:

"Now, more than ever, we are left with a miracle as the only option for healing.  We hold onto that hope, though will need to find, and own, a new hope too - one that is not dependent on the cancer being taken away, but on being carried through this disease, and if necessary through the valley of the shadow of death.  It is not about what God can do for us, but about who God is to us.  And the God I believe in is not the magic genie god who jumps out of our "prayer lamps" to grant us our 3 wishes (though at times God does that for us).  I believe in a God who is with us in all things: carrying, guiding and challenging.  However, at this time, that picture needs strengthening and deepening in me - it needs a new depth that I have not needed before.  I am determined to find it.  God cannot be the "fix it" only God - that would make a mockery of everything that Jesus stood for. In the end, the incarnation is about God being with us.  I hope to find that in a way that sustains me along this road.  Never having been there before makes it a new journey for me - one that may prove lonely at times, no doubt frustrating and confusing at others, but there will also be the special moments that come from seeing the world through new eyes opened by the discoveries I make along the way." 

Andre died on 13/07/2010, 48 days after penning this letter.
Jesus died upon a cross and fully feels our pain.

Published by Noelene Curry