As I read through the Gospels, I’m almost overwhelmed as I realize how the crowds pressed in on Jesus every chance they could.

Heal me.

Heal him.

Heal her.

Heal us.

Remove this evil spirit.

Raise this person from the dead.

Constant requests for personal, yet very temporary, earthly release from pain and suffering.

I’ve been those same people time and time again, believe me.

But this morning I’m struck with the absence of crowds who came to Jesus just to be near Him.

Sit with me.

Talk to me.

Listen to me.

Understand me.

You don’t read of many people who had those kinds of requests for the Savior of mankind.

I’m wondering today what is more important to me.

Answered prayer or time with the One who holds the answers.

I hope it’s the second.

I hope I’m growing close enough to Him that I’m beginning to grasp the reality that any suffering here pales in comparison to the glory stored up for us in Heaven.

All Jesus wants from us is love.

He demonstrated this love for us by suffering.

Maybe He chose suffering because that was the one thing in this world that might keep us from coming to Him.

He wanted to walk all the way through pain so that in the willingness to walk we would know and believe that He understands our hurt and that we are not alone.

I’m reading Philip Yancey’s book, When Life Hurts, and in it He writes a paragraph I love.

I shared it on Facebook this morning as a status, but I want to share it with you here today also because I feel that so many of us are hurting or have and need to know that God is there even in the darkest hour.

Determine today that your greatest request from Jesus is the one He desires most from you…love.

“The fact that Jesus came and suffered and died does not remove pain from your lives.

Nor does it guarantee that we will always feel comforted.

But it does show that God did not sit idly by and watch us suffer alone.

He joined us and in His life on earth, endured far more pain than most of us every will. In doing so He won a victory that will make possible a future world without pain.”

(From Philip Yancey’s book When Life Hurts)