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Jesus Understands Our Pain

Author and speaker Jill Briscoe recalls:

In Croatia I was asked to speak to a church gathering for about 200 newly arrived refugees. Refugees from this area of the world are mostly women because the men are either dead or in camp or fighting. This group of Muslims, Croats, and a few Serbs had fled to a seminary on the border of a battered Croatian town. The town was still in danger of sniper fire and bombing, but the church had escaped because there were apartment buildings between it and the guns. Attackers had tried to fire shells over the apartment buildings to the seminary, but they hadn't managed to do it, so it became the refugee receiving and feeding place.
We worked all day visiting with the refugees. At night a service was held in this huge, old church, and I had to speak. I didn't know what to say. Everything I had prepared seemed totally inadequate, so I put my notes away and prayed, "God, give me creative ideas they can identify with."
I told them about Jesus, who as a baby became a refugee. He was hunted by soldiers, and his parents had to flee to Egypt at night, leaving everything behind. I could tell the people began to click with what I was saying. I kept praying like crazy.
I continued telling them about Jesus' life, and when I got to the cross, I said, "He hung there naked, not like pictures tell you." They knew what that meant. Some of them had been stripped naked and tortured.
At the end of the message, I said, "All these things have happened to you. You are homeless. You have had to flee. You have suffered unjustly. But you didn't have a choice. He had a choice. He knew all this would happen to him, but he still came." And then I told them why.
Many of them just knelt down, put their hands up, and wept. I said, "He's the only one who really understands. How can I possibly understand, but he can. This is what people did to him. He's the suffering God. You can give your pain to him."

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