Our Hope Is in our Pain

James Jones, a counselor and teacher, said it more than I wanted to hear: “Our hope is in our pain.” My internal response was, “Bologna.” I didn’t like it. I didn’t want to believe it. I dreamed of a day when my work and life would be easy, comfortable.

He kept saying it. I kept listening. Where did he get that idea?

Romans 5:3-5:

And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us (NKJV).

It’s my observation many would-be shepherds return to deacon-work because of the pain of being a true shepherd — 7 Ways to Deal with the Pain of Being a Shepherd

Jesus told His disciples the path to following Him involved carrying a cross (Luke 9:23, 24). His example was one of suffering.

For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps” (1 Peter 2:21).

But pain hurts. It gets old. I get exhausted. I want to get comfortable again.

How was Jesus, our Leader, our Good Shepherd, able to deal with the excruciating pain He endured in carrying and hanging on His cross?

1. Jesus anticipated His pain. He knew the plan for Him. He repeated it over and over again to prepare His apostles for coming danger and disappointment.

From that time Jesus began to show to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day (Matthew 16.:21).

When I know pain is coming, I don’t feel weird. It’s expected. It’s normal. Often I’ve visited people in the hospital and asked how they were feeling. After a groan or two, they answered, “I’ve had a pretty rough day. But it’s the third day after surgery and they say that’s the worst day.” They are hurting, but not in despair. They understand pain is expected and relief will be coming.

[tweetthis]Peter encouraged Christians by assuring them what was happening, though painful, was normal.[/tweetthis]

Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy (1 Peter 4:12, 13).

2. Jesus chose His pain. Jesus made it clear. He was not forced to suffer and die. He decided to do it because it was the will of His Father.

“Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father” (John 10:17, 18).

3. Jesus managed His pain. His preference was not to go the way of pain. He prayed three times to remove the cup (Matthew 26:39-44). Jesus did not enjoy pain. He endured pain (Hebrews 12:1, 2

When He learned there was no other way, He chose obedience rather than comfort (Matthew 26:53, 54).

[tweetthis]A shepherd, a Christian will endure the pain of carrying his cross for the joy that comes from following Jesus.[/tweetthis]

The pain of service brings hope when it is

  1. Anticipated.
  2. Chosen.
  3. Managed.

How do you manage your pain in serving the Lord?


(Visited 448 times, 8 visits today)
Jerrie Barber
Servant of Jesus, husband to Gail, father to Jerrie Wayne Barber, II and Christi Parsons, grandfather, great-grandfather, Interim Preacher, Shepherd coach, Ventriloquist, barefoot runner, ride a cruiser bicycle

18 Responses to “Our Hope Is in our Pain

  • Doug Pell
    6 years ago

    Receiving two reminders to read your posts once is a blessing. Keep up the good work.

  • Sam Taylor
    6 years ago

    Don’t recall asking for a second, if so, a mere oversight on my part. I greatly enjoy reading your articles and feel they are needed. I am preparing myself to be an elder one day, Lord willing, and your work has been very beneficial to me.

  • If I subscribed a second time it was purely unintentional.

  • Jerrie W. Barber
    6 years ago

    The two requests are the way everyone signs up. This keeps me and others from spamming — sending the messages to people who don’t want to receive them.

    Here is the explanation of Aweber.com:

    “A visitor to your website types their email address in an opt-in form. The visitor is sent an email with a unique unguessable token, often in the form of a website link. The visitor must click on the unique link in that email message to verify their subscription request before being sent any marketing material. This verifies the owner of the email address attempting to be subscribed is indeed the person that typed it into the website form.”

    This is the way it is designed to work.

    I appreciate every subscriber. I appreciate your encouragement. I love criticism. This is one way to learn and grow. A complaint without a specific criticism isn’t helpful.

    Thank you for reading.

  • Alton Norman
    6 years ago

    One more thought on Jesus pain and ours: Jesus used his pain to bless others. May God help us to follow His example (1 Peter 2″21-25).

    • Jerrie W. Barber
      6 years ago

      Alton, Thank you for observing and reminding. That is part of the example of Jesus difficult to follow.

    • That is some great insight.

  • Yep. That perfectly explains it. Pain is not evil; it’s what we do with it that counts. Thanks.

  • Wayne Lankford
    6 years ago

    I didn’t realize I signed up a ‘second time.’

  • Larry Osborne
    6 years ago

    I did not realize I signed up a second time. I thoroughly enjoy your material and have no complaints. Keep it up.

  • I did not realize I signed up a second time. I thoroughly enjoy your material. Keep up the good work.

  • Steve Byrne
    6 years ago

    So sorry that people are misusing the system. Hopefully that will be solved soon. I appreciate your ministry. It continues to bless me. Thanks!

  • Wow! What a POWERFUL post!!! That is one of the most insightful pieces that I’ve ever read, and therein you wonderfully pointed us to the teachings of Jesus, the Christ!!! Of course that’s so wondrufully typical of you! 🙂

    Jerrie, I hope you know that you are greatly loved, admired, appreciated, and respected by multiple friends and fellow servants in God’s kingdom, of whom I am certainly one!

    I hope whomever is “complaining” about your blog post(s) will be honorable enough to accept your simple and honorable request to either converse with you about it or unsubscribe.

    BTW… I’d gladly request 10 times to learn from and be challenged by your post thoughts! 🙂

    Steve (Gal. 1:3)

  • Todd A Foutch
    6 years ago

    Jerrie, if I subscribed for a second time it was unintentional. I truly enjoy your communications and find encouragement from reading/studying them. Thank you for all you do for the church.

  • Jerrie, great stuff, I’ve heard you lecture on this, I think it was at FHU lectures 2016. It is good to have it writing. I have witnessed deacons who were doing a great work in a specific area of responsibility, be appointed as Shepherd. Some of the pain I’ve observed is their looking back at that work they loved and did well, being led by another who may or may not do it as well, or exactly like they did. It is hard to turn loose of one thing familiar to something else unfamiliar. The old Jack Exum idiom comes to mind….sometimes you have to TLE it. Temporarily Lower Expectation. I like to think that whatever pain is involved in Shepherding, is tempered by the joy in the witnessed growth of individuals and/or church families. The pain should not be denied, neither should the joy.

    • Jerrie W. Barber
      6 years ago


      Good observation. Many people never experience the joy because they chose not or neglected to participate in the necessary pain of following Jesus (Luke 9:23).

  • Ben Jones
    6 years ago

    Hi Jerry..
    Pain is a constant reminder of the death of my wife of 67 years. But is the ANTICIPATION of continuing in His path that gives relief knowing that heaven is my goal. Emotional pain is a mind game. If one stays the path knowing the outcome then it is knowing that she was a precious Jewell and my mind continually reminds me of that fact. As a result it is the joy of the past that makes the pain bearable and allows me to move on in the hope of His promise and the anticipation of what lies ahead.
    In Him,

    • Jerrie W. Barber
      6 years ago


      That is the way to embrace the pain. Jesus “for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:2).

      Good pain is good for us.

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