When I was a new Christian, I was suffering. You say, what were you suffering? I had a friend: Craig. Craig had a family. I had a friend: Rod. Rod had a family. We were pretty tight. I didn’t have a family. I would see them with their families – with their wives, with their children. I would drive home alone. Loneliness is a severe trial.
You say, how were you helped? Jesus visited me in those years of my life in ways I don’t experience now. Oh, I experience them, but not like I did then. He came to me. His presence was so sweet, it turned my darkness into light. My sister-in-law Mida… She was suffering cancer, going through chemotherapy. Bitter trial. She was on a two week rotation of chemo, and at that period where she would be most pressed by that chemo treatment, most weak, most suffering… Jesus would come to her. And she actually wept when she was healed, because those seasons would not come anymore. Brethren, that’s one of the ways He helps. He comes and He visits His people.
I’ve told you this story before: Scottish Covenanters, one of these guys was so mutilated the Dragoons came in and they dealt like 8 mortal blows to him. They took his broken body and they just threw it on the dungeon floor. And as he laid there, his body broken, he said, “I don’t know if I can withstand this any longer.” And those bystanders thought he was talking about his wounds. He said, “The presence of Christ is so overwhelming to me right now, I don’t know if I can handle anymore.” Brethren, one of the ways that Christ helps us, is He visits us.
The last thing you ever want to do in the midst of your suffering is turn away from your times in prayer and your times in the Word. Because that is so often right where He comes to us. It was in my seasons when I would go out in those early days, and loneliness felt at times like it would crush me, but I would go out in the fields and I would pray. And it was there praying – there were times when I would walk and I could feel His presence at my side. I could have reached over and touched Him. And brethren, there’s times when He takes the pain of the suffering out.
You may know this story, there was a time when Spurgeon was suffering the pain of gout, and it was so overwhelming, he had to ask the people in the room to leave. And he just cried out, you can almost hear it, almost like Jesus there out in the wilderness pleading with cries and tears, and Spurgeon there with crying and tears says, “please!” And God took the pain away. No doubt, not all of it. And not forever. But He took it away right there when asked.