“…my pain is ever with me.”


“For I am ready to fall, and my pain is ever with me.” (Psalm 38:17)

Ouch!  I remember as a young boy wandering through the woods with my buddies, stumbling upon a barbed wire fence, and trying to figure out if we should go over, under, or through it.  (Be real — the thought rarely crossed our minds that “none of the above” and “stay out” were the correct choices.  We were explorers!)  Inevitably, one of us would get hung up on the fence and have to explain the torn shirt or pants to mom.  Ouch!

The barbed wire fence in the picture is meant for one purpose – to send a painful message to a cow bumping against it,  a message that screams, “Back off, stay inside the pasture where it’s safe.  Don’t go out on the road and pretend you’re a deer waiting to be hit by a passing car.”  The painful message from the barbed wire sends an important message to the cow that just might save it’s life (at least until it reaches the slaughterhouse.)

Much of the time pain serves a similar purpose in our lives.  The presence of pain alerts us to something that might not be quite right either physically, emotionally, or spiritually.  Although it “hurts,” physical pain can save our lives.  It can make us aware of something malfunctioning inside our bodies that needs attention before more damage is created.  Emotional and spiritual pain can do the same, confronting us with hurtful decisions we might be making or situations in which we might be living.  In a sense, pain is a call to change, a call that hopefully can be heard and heeded.  Sometimes when physical pain is ignored we hear the stories like undetected cancers and tumors getting a head start on their hosts.  When emotional and spiritual pain is ignored we may hear stories of self-destruction or even the devastating destruction of others.

Pain must be heard before anything else can happen.  The psalmist was in deep, unrelenting pain when he wrote, “For I am ready to fall, and my pain is ever with me.”  He screamed his pain to God with the confidence he would be heard.  Some pain may be overwhelming and seemingly endless, defying the efforts of professionals and others to find help and healing.  Even then, it can be worse.  It can be worse if we feel no one wants to hear our pain, in other words, no one cares if we hurt.  Even when we feel helpless in the face of the pain of others, it’s critical that they know we’re listening to their pain.  We hear them.  We’re with them.  We care.  I pray that God will help me listen to pain that calls me to change, and pain that calls me to care.  How about you?

Blessings and Peace,
Pastor, Sand Hill United Methodist Church
Boaz, West Virginia

Help save lives! For more information on my new book, “A Relentless Hope: Surviving the Storm of Teen Depression,” visit

Check out my new video, “Teens Surviving the Storm”

~ by revgenelson on August 4, 2010.

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