Joy and Pain in the Church


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The people could not distinguish the sound of the joyful shout from the sound of…weeping.

Ezra 3:13

When the exiles built the foundation of the temple—there were tears of joy and sadness. Those who saw the temple in all its glory were struck by the pain of loss, while those without this knowledge celebrated the revival. The sound of joy and pain was indistinguishable for the people. In our churches today, we have the same chorus of joy and pain in the body of Christ.

When I suffered through a difficult time in my life, I wept through most of the services. I didn’t cry out loud nor did I desire to draw attention to myself. Yet, it was hard to come Sunday after Sunday with gut-retching pain in my heart. There were beautiful saints of God who didn’t have to know the details to discern my struggles. I was hugged and encouraged by many people.

The body of Christ has many people who’ve suffered or in the midst of painful experiences sharing the same location every Sunday morning with those who rejoice because of God’s goodness. The scriptures clearly direct us to “rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.” (Romans 12:15) As believers in the Lord Jesus Christ we can seek discernment to help our hurting brothers and sisters in Christ.

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I’ve come out on the other side of that season, but I haven’t forgot how it impacted me in the church. When I see a single mother constantly wiping tears from her eyes during the service, I’m compelled to pray for her and if I have the opportunity—hug and encourage her.

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with rejoicing in church service—I do so almost every time I show up. Yet, I also want to have a sensitive spirit and awareness of those around me who may be suffering. We are the hands and feet of Jesus to minister to those in our services.


Dear Lord, grant me a greater sensitivity to love and encourage those in the body of Christ who may be suffering. In Jesus’ name, amen.

In His Service,

Crystal McDowell Signature

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