~ Tracy Frederick
It has been a pretty emotional few weeks with too many of my sisters and brothers are dealing with emotional, physical and spiritual challenges- babies suffering in hospitals, sisters are dealing with unknown illnesses, injuries, parents passing and cancers have returned. I only recall one other time in my life, when our daughter was fighting for her life, that I felt such emotional turmoil and spent so many hours on my knees in prayer. I've also struggled with-What does one say to those who are suffering? “I am sorry?” “I am praying for you?” Words fail me too often. But, sometimes there are not words...I know that.... I remember waiting in hospitals with our weeks old baby...sitting in pediatric ICU...lying next to my father in his hospital bed knowing each breath was probably his last . I know that there are no words.... but, there were the looks from those who knew...the looks that said- I KNOW what you feel....I suffered too....I get it.
But, I admit that I didn’t get it....REALLY get it. I knew Hebrews 4:15. I know that we have a Savior who has been tempted and suffered as we suffer...but, I guess I didn’t make the connections. I know that suffering comes at the hands of Satan and our own mistakes and even disobedience- we sometimes do it to ourselves. In other words, we live in a world that has consequences to actions; we live in a world that our bodies become ill and deteriorate. We aren’t meant to live forever. However, watching someone suffer is such a sense of powerlessness...hopelessness....But, knowing that someone else understands, truly understands can offer the greatest comfort of all. And that’s when I realized that I failed to consider that our Father suffered, just like we suffer. I had allowed myself to think that He was "above it all"...or maybe that he was immune. I was selfish. I then considered- He watched His son, our Savior suffer deeply as He begged His Father to let Him escape suffering at our hands. He knew His Son would suffer. Our Father watched His Son suffer as was spit on Him and tortured Him to near death. Our Father suffered as He watched His Son being nailed to a cross for us. Our Father suffered.
I've been praying unceasingly for the relief of the suffering of dozens of people this week. But the most powerful and comforting idea that I have taken from this is that our Father understands...I mean He REALLY understands the suffering we endure here and that gives me the greatest comfort of all. He has been there. What is most overwhelming is that He watched His Son suffer for us. So when I am on my knees today...and tomorrow...and the next... I will be thinking about how He gets it...He has been there....He understands my groanings...and I will take great comfort in that, especially when there are no words.
"Likewise the Spirit also helps our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And He that searches the hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose...What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? He that did not spared His own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall He not with him also freely give us all things? ...It is Christ that died, but is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us." Romans 8: 26-31