I initially came upon deep pain upon pain on my fourth trip to Africa in the country of Mozambique.

I had been to an amazing church and people for a few days and then moved locations, a mere twenty- minute bike-ride away where the atmosphere was profoundly different.

There was an oppression over this second village unlike anything I have ever experienced before. At every moment (literally) there was a child sobbing — and worse, the adults and parents either ignored or mocked these sobbing children.

At first I thought it was just very bad parenting but then the Lord told me, “No Cyndy, this is pain upon pain.”

Interestingly, the homes were the same as elsewhere in the country. Everyone was dressed the same as anywhere else and there was plenty of food. All the outward elements required for safety, shelter, and food were in this place, and yet this village had a profound spirit of poverty hanging over everyone.

The homes were dirtier, the children were neglected, the teens mocked the elderly women (shocking for me to see this in Africa – it was then I knew something was very wrong in that place), and the eyes of the people carried profound sadness. It was, I recognized, the first time I had come across true poverty in my travels. I saw the truth of the following:

“While poor people mention having a lack of material things, they tend to describe their condition in far more psychological and social terms … poor people typically talk in terms of shame, inferiority, powerlessness, humiliation, fear, hopelessness, depression, social isolation, and voicelessness.” 45

I and those I was ministering with, were only in this village for twenty-four hours and it was all we could do to stay there that long. The oppression of grief and despair was so compounded that it was as though a giant tree had fallen on us and we were gasping for air — and truly, after that experience, I don’t think I have seen true poverty anywhere else.

Thinking back to my own years when trauma and violence came into my life, I recall a frozenness in my ability to cope or to lift myself out of the confounding of that time. I was so knocked over with these very things, shame, powerlessness, humiliation, fear, hopelessness, depression, social isolation and voicelessness, that I couldn’t see any clear way out.

And so, for instance, when food became scarce my answer was to eat very little so my children could eat; for some time I was literally starving myself so that my children would have food. This, of course, is no real or lasting answer whatsoever and yet it was the only thing I could grab hold of at the time.

Pain upon pain does this. It comes from the violences done against us and around us and it freezes our responses and bogs us down in a sea of confusion; we can’t really see which way is up.

Of course, pain upon pain is often buried deep in a people and passed on generation after generation. When people are hurt they hurt others. Without the healing of heart and mind, spirit and body, we act out our unresolved hurts and harms out unto others. The pain upon pain that is below the level of what we see, must be healed.

When a person is physically drowning I am told they thrash and drag down any would-be rescuers. In a similar way, when a person is drowning in emotional, psychological, physical and relational pain they too ‘drag down’ those around them; in our thrashing we hurt others with the pain we ourselves are experiencing. Hurt people create more hurt. 46

This is important to know and understand. These cycles of pain upon pain become embedded in families, communities, and nations. 47 With pain upon pain compounding our efforts, our stewardship, mind sets, agreements with the enemy or God, and our theology, we can see the multiple confounding and the multilayered ‘stuckness’ of entire communities.

All of us have experienced hurt and harm from others. Many of us have been beaten, abused, whipped, raped, stolen from, rejected, lied to, and more. We require deep healing.

As a prayer minister working with many individuals over many years there are times when I’ll be working with someone who has accumulated so much pain that if they spent the rest of their lives before the Lord, they still would not have enough time or energy to process all the pain that they carry. It is at times like this that the Holy Spirit instructs me to ‘just pray that pain away’.

It is the tangible outworking of verses like:

“And it shall come to pass in that day, declares the Lord of hosts, that I will break the yoke from off your neck, and I will burst your bonds,” Jeremiah 30:8a ESV

“Administer justice every morning; and deliver the person who has been robbed from the power of his oppressor.” Jeremiah 21:12 middle NASB

While these verses speak to a very real bondage of a very real people in time, the spirit of these verses represent the Spirit of our Lord — that God would have us free from that which has taken us captive. It is together, in commonality one with another, in common lament, in compassion one for another that we kneel together before the cross of Jesus and declaring, putting down, loosing off, the pains that confound us. As we have come to know the healing of the Lord within us and for our own pain we can now advocate that same healing for others; we can impact others unto wholeness with the same wholeness that we ourselves are increasingly finding in God.

The promises of God are mighty indeed.

“I shall make peace (shalom) your administrator and saving justice your government. Violence will no longer be heard of in your country, nor devastation and ruin within your frontiers. You will call your walls ‘salvation’ and your gates ‘praise’.” Isaiah 60:17b-18 The New Jerusalem Bible 48

As is custom, when we were leaving the village in Mozambique we entered the pastors home and the people broke out in song. It was then my turn to pray before we left and I prayed something like this,

“God I lift this village and people to you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. God we see the pain upon pain that is here, carried in the hearts and lives of these people. Today I say enough is enough! In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ I declare a stop to these cycles of pain here and now. I put a stick in this wheel of pain and despair. No more! I reach with the strong yet gentle hand of my Lord Jesus Christ into each life and I touch the pain and declare the soothing of the Lord, the healing of Jesus, the comfort of the Holy Spirit. Today God, we claim these people for your glory and we remove them from the despair of the enemy. Today I press a little bit of your gladness upon their lives, today we begin and declare a new way for them; from this day on may they not remain the same, but may they know you as the lifter of their heads. Amen”

The authority, simply the confidence and practice, to pray this for others comes from our own experience of God’s healing deep within our own lives. We have found God more than big enough for my own pain upon pain. God is our healer.

Years back I was perceiving the pain of my own life as a witches cauldron (a giant pot of pain) that if I entered I’d never leave. Yet, God kept wooing me, showing me that he was in the pain and that he wanted to meet and heal me there. So, bit by bit I entered in and worked my way through the deep pain of my life (with many healing sessions and with the help of other people) to declare and personally find freedom and healing.

What I came to find was that my pain was no witches cauldron at all, but rather, with God’s grace, it was a reservoir of living water that now spills out to all others round about me. The presence of God changed my pain into healing for many others. 49

While pain upon pain is the most crippling poverty of all, while within it we cannot see our hand in front of our faces, we cannot perceive accurately, and we are confounded in all our good efforts, the power of God to heal us, to touch us, to leave us refreshed is literal and real.

When I finished praying that day in Mozambique I opened my eyes to find the women were wiping their tears with their aprons. Because we were there for such a short amount of time we never had a chance to talk about what we were feeling there, but the Lord touched them through my prayer.

We give God all the glory, the thanks, and the praise.

There is a simple manner that helps to heal the hurts of this world. It is this:


“I see that you have experienced much trouble. Oh my. This was never meant to be part of your life experience.”


“No wonder you are hurting so. I am so sorry that you’ve had to go through this.”


“I am glad that the Lord has brought you through, this far.”


“Today I release you from (name the trouble) in the name of Jesus and I release you to the goodness of God for you.”

The key to healing is compassion, identification, forgiveness and the goodness of God. Understand that hearts of condemnation, of contempt and hatred against sin and people caught by sin, will NOT heal.


“Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” 2 Corinthians 1:2-4 ESV

“When he went ashore he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them and healed their sick.” Matthew 14:14

“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” Psalms 147:3 50 


“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.” Hebrews 4:15

“Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2

“Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.” Romans 12:15 51


“Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven;” Luke 6:37

“He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us. As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him. For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust.” Psalm 103 10-14

“Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” Ephesians 4:31-32 52


“Therefore the Lord waits to be gracious to you, and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you. For the Lord is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for him.” Isaiah 30:18

“The Lord is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. The Lord is good to all, and his mercy is over all that he has made. All your works shall give thanks to you, O Lord, and all your saints shall bless you!” Psalm 145:8-10

“But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil.” Luke 6:35 53

In this world we are caught by sin.We are caught by our own sins.We are caught by the sins of others against us. And we are caught by the general sinfulness of the world which we know as a broken world.

It is as though each of us have wrapped around our torso and arms a strong thick rope called sin. Imagine, this rope binds our arms to our sides and we are stuck. We cannot undo this rope ourselves. Our arms are caught at our sides and our hands are impotent to untie the knots. We cannot even untie the bonds of the person next to us. We are stuck. We are stuck in sin.

In this state, the enemy would have us believe that God is angry at us.That God hates us because of our sin. And we sometimes have the impression that God is standing back enraged with a giant whip to lash out at us because of sin and how stuck we are.

But of course, this is a lie. What a great trick of the enemy to convince us that God hates us, when it is Satan himself who hates us. What a great trick of Satan to convince us that God condemns us, when it is

Satan himself who is the accuser. What a great trick of Satan to have us doubt the goodness of God when it is Satan himself that has no goodness whatsoever. We have been fooled.

God does not stand back enraged and he does not have a whip.

Who is the condemner? God. Or Satan?

“God did not send his Son into the world to judge and condemn the world, but to be its Savior and rescue it!” John 3:17 TPT 54

“He will not crush the weakest reed or put out a flickering candle. He will bring justice to all who have been wronged.” Isaiah 42:3 NLT

It is God himself who comes toward us with great compassion, deep empathy, and with profound understanding of how frail we are and how deeply stuck we have become.

God comes toward us to untie the bonds that have kept us bound,

“My child. I see that you are stuck. I am so sorry. This was never my heart for you or your life. Here, let me untie your bonds. Let me loose you. Let me remove the ropes from off of you. Let me release you from sin and suffering. I release you into my mercy, love, gladness, goodness, and life, this day. Rest in me. It is all okay. I am with you. I declare healing upon and within you. Be restored. Be at peace. Be in joy.”

The gospel is the most epic super-hero story. Imagine, God comes to earth as Jesus, takes on our sin, cloaks himself in death thereby entering hell, opening the doors of hell from the inside-out rescuing us, bringing us out with him, thereby, forevermore, conquering sin and death.

The lion of Judah has overcome!

An early church father, St Athanasius in On the Incarnation, proposes this train of thought:

  • Humanity was dying.
  • God loves humanity and determined to solve the problem of death.
  • How? By entering death to destroy death and to save us from death.
  • But the only entry to death IS death BUT God cannot die.
  • Therefore, God assumed human nature in the Person of Jesus Christ. Human nature can die, so Jesus can die and invade death.
  • Jesus enters death by dying BUT he is also still God, so what happens next? Death dies!
  • Then Jesus exits death along with its plunder (humanity). 55 “Stop weeping; behold, the Lion that is from the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has overcome.” Revelation 5:5a
  • Jesus is our saviour.

The gospel is more than we can comprehend. It is so simple. So amazing. Exquisitely profound. It is “our lover rushing into a burning building to save us.” 56

It is the enraged Father rushing to save his child from an evil perpetrator; the wrath has never been about the child but as passion against the perpetrator (Satan) and rescue for humanity. 57

God With Us

  • God knows our pain Psalm 56:8; Matthew 11:28
  • In understanding Psalm 34:18; Matthew 4:23
  • Co-suffering with us Isaiah 63:9; John 15:18
  • Identifying with our sin 2 Corinthians 5:21; 1 Peter 2:24

God For Us:

  • Acting on our behalf Isaiah 64:4; Psalm 6:2
  • Doing for us what we could not do for ourselves Isaiah 41:10; Psalm 107:19-20 
  • Touching our depths with healing and wholeness Jeremiah 17:14; Psalm 103:2-4 
  • Singing, healing, restoring our lives Zephaniah 3:17; Psalm 147:3

At the time of this writing, I’ve not been back to that village in Mozambique, but I’ve been told they are a bit freer and different since that day. The touch of God in our pain changes our lives for the better. It is something only God can do.

But it is also something that we can facilitate:

1.We can bring our own hurts and harms, the traumas we have endured, out and into the presence of the Lord. We can acknowledge the harm done to us,“God, I was violated by that person. God, where were you? God, I need your healing. Please heal me. I look to you God for my wholeness.” (Acknowledgment)

2. With our faces turned to the Lord we perceive the touch of God and we can sense the Spirit of God saying to us,“I never intended this harm in your life. I am so sorry this has been part of your experience. Let me touch your pain. Let us heal together.” (Validation)

3. In the midst of the healing of pain it is a strange thing to express gratitude. But the ability to declare what is good and right, the precious in the midst of the worthless, is a spoken agreement with the goodness of God for the deliverance of our lives. In gratitude we refuse to give the authority of our pain to the enemy. Rather, we bring our pain into the presence of God where we are healed, “God, even as this trauma was harming me, even in all the years since, I have known you are for me, with me, wanting to heal me, thank you so much for all you have done for me.” (Gratitude)

4. “Therefore, this day and forevermore, I am released from the authority of this pain upon my life. I release trauma off of me today. I release the assignments of Satan, off of me today. I release the confounding and the authority that this pain has created, off of me today. And I release myself into the healing and wholeness, the joy and peace, the glory and honor, of my living Lord Jesus Christ from this day and forevermore. I release the Goodness of GOD into my life.” (Release)

This is the role of the body of Christ and of the church to create safe relationships and spaces by which we can look at and come to a change of mind and heart about many of the things in our own lives and in the life of our community. 58 One by one we are healed and carry the light of our Lord to a dying world.

Healing pain upon pain is a combined effort of community and the Lord. The Body of Christ is meant to give out the healing of God. The body of Christ is meant to come alongside each other in compassion, in empathy, in generosity of heart, to right what has been so wrong; we help to untie each others’s bonds.

Healing of pain upon pain comes by first recognizing the pain, acknowledging it for what it is, without excuse and without explaining it away. Pain does not go away by burying it. It is released off of us as we bring it out into the Light of Christ. Only acknowledged pain can be brought to Jesus. No doubt, this is hard work. But as we undertake to bring our pain to Jesus, we find that Jesus has been present in our pain all along, wanting to meet us there and to extend healing and comfort and help.

Once we are free of our own pain. We will no longer add pain to others. Our experience of life will be different. Our relationships will be different. Our experience of God and this world will be different. Consider how the healing of our inner person impacts all of this world for a new experience of Shalom.

“God established four foundational relationships for each person: a relationship with God, with self, with others, and with the rest of creation. These relationship are the building blocks of all of life. When they are functioning properly, humans experience the fullness of life that God intended, because we are being what God created us to be.” 59

Together we labor, together we weep, together we pray, together we learn the love of the Lord, and the healing of our Lord Jesus Christ, the touch of God — GOD WITH US. This is the gospel.

As ministers of the Lord we go to them. We sit in their homes. We receive with gratitude their hospitality to us, but we also bring things to them as care to them. We affirm their worth in the Lord and on this earth. We say yes and amen to their hopes and dreams and longings. We share in hope. We practice peace one to another. And we validate their pain. We listen well. Just to listen. We sit beside, and we lament and grieve the wounds of this world together. And we pray. We declare the Lord’s healing upon them. We receive their prayers for us. We wait for this healing together.

“Who may ascend the mountain of the Lord? Who may stand in His holy place? The one who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not trust in an idol or swear by a false god.” Psalm 24:3-4

Pain need not have the last say. God has the last say. And he says, ‘Be healed, be whole, be made new, be restored. Come into the mercy of God. Come into the love of God. Come into the wholeness of God. Come.”

“You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; you have loosed my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness, that my glory may sing your praise and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give thanks to you forever!” Psalm 30:11-12 ESV


We are meant to have our roots in the goodness of God and in the person of Jesus Christ. As we grow into Him we will find that the fruit of our lives takes on a new health, wholeness, and fullness; we become rich in Christ.

We are meant to flourish in the fullness of life that God intended for us. Pain upon pain has been against this.

Yet, Jesus Christ assumed our pain and sin as his own so that you and I can be free of our own sin and the sins of others against us Take on courage today to bring your pain to Jesus.

Then take on courage to presence yourself in the pain of others. Just be there for them. Words are not often needed for this. Just the knowledge that we are not alone is part of the healing of our pain. Show up in lament and sorrow when it is needed and pain will have less authority to keep us down. Our acts of love will overshadow the pain of our lives and we will experience an increase in heart and strength.


“God we bring our pain to you this day. There is so much pain that we are afraid to look at it. But God, we simply declare that we give our pain to you. We ask for the courage to look for you in the pain. May you be our healer and our Savior. We depend on you God. Today, in the name and the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ we say ‘No more’ to pain that would cripple us. But we bring every part of our lives into the goodness, love and trust of our saviour Jesus Christ. Thank you God for loving us. Thank you God for healing us. We bless your name today.”


Pain can cripple our efforts at life Malachi 2:16; Job 30:17; Proverbs 11:17

God is healing our pain Revelation 21:4; Jeremiah 29:11; Psalm 56:8; John 16:33


45 Steve Corbett and Brian Fikkert, When Helping Hurts: How to Alleviate Poverty without Hurting the Poor—and Yourself (Moody Publishers, 2009, 20012) 51.

46 This is what is behind women thrashing out at their man in violence and degradations. Women are not wired for violence of any kind. It is not in their character. She is created to carry the beauty and rest of the Lord, not the chaos and violence of molech. But, when a woman has been betrayed, abused, harmed, and her concerns dismissed time and time again, she will often become a perpetrator of violence against her man (or indirectly her children) . It is important, therefore, that before a woman finds herself at this level, that she get out of abusive and dismissive relationships.

47 There is increasing evidence that trauma actually is stored in the DNA of a person and passed down to the children of that person. https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/249952

48 Scripture quotations marked NJB are from The New Jerusalem Bible, copyright © 1985 by Darton, Longman & Todd, Ltd. and Doubleday, a division of Random House, Inc. Reprinted by Permission

49 It is the story of Marah, the poisoned waters that the Israelites came to in the desert. And it is the story of Moses throwing his stick into the waters at the command of God. It is the story of those poisonous waters becoming pure and clean and healthy. So it is with our lives. God’s touch in the midst of our pain heals and transforms and brings cleansing and freedom. Exodus 15:22-16

50 To find more about the compassion of God – https://www.openbible.info/topics/gods_compassion

51 To find more about God’s identification with us – https://www.openbible.info/topics/god_identifies_with_us

52 For more on forgiveness – https://www.openbible.info/topics/forgiveness

53 To find more about the goodness of God – https://www.openbible.info/topics/goodness_of_god

54 The Passion Translation®. Copyright © 2017 by BroadStreet Publishing® Group, LLC. Used by permission. All rights reserved. thePassionTranslation.com

55 https://www.ptm.org/q-r-with-brad-but-why-did-jesus-need-to-die-why-not-declare-victory? fbclid=IwAR3rNMosCBsz1QrHYuLmC_hAIYq96LLKrIbjp6e-kDK23nlXlKl-ezkvJvs

56  per Brad Jersak

57  Note, that if a good Father is rushing toward a perpetrator to rescue a child, the child will think the Father is angry at him or her. This is because the child is not psychologically developed enough to understand that the wrath has nothing to do with him or her, but has everything to do with the perpetrator. This seems to be the same way that we have interpreted any wrath of God, that it is against us when really, it is against the enemy, the perpetrator, the Satan that would destroy us.

58 Being safe people is taught in Module TWO, Month 6, Chapter 43, GOD IS FOR PEOPLE, application https://collegeofcapturingcourage.org/chapter-43-god-is-for-people/

59 Steve Corbett and Brian Fikkert, When Helping Hurts: How to Alleviate Poverty without Hurting the Poor—and Yourself (Moody Publishers, 2009, 20012)

=>  We continue our learning with Chapter 69: The Stories We Tell

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