Jesus begins his most famous teaching, The Sermon on the Mount, with the Beatitudes, meaning blessing. So to begin this new year, we’ll be sharing seven stories of God’s blessing in our lives.

This weeks blog is an extract from Alain Emerson’s (24-7 Prayer Ireland) book Luminous Dark, which tells his story of “Leaning into pain, holding on to God, breaking through to light.”

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.”
Matthew 5:4

I came to discover as I walked through the darkest parts of my valley of the shadow of death the liberating and glorious centrepiece of scriptural truth: that God meets us in our most hopeless state. He doesn’t just ask us to give him our best – he asks us to bring him our worst. He is more than worthy of the best we can give him, but it’s also the worst of us that he is after, and where he wants to reveal his goodness. Our ugliest sin, our greatest heartache, our deepest grief, our violent rage. Not only did he ultimately bear it in his own body to pave a victorious path of freedom for us, but his journey towards this sacrificial death reveals how in his humanity he carried pain of monumental proportions. The gospel writers give us glimpses into Jesus’ humanity during his final hours, and in doing so reveal to us how we can journey through our own dark days of apparent forsakenness…


The implications of this should bring immense comfort – God is present in your suffering. The unquantifiable and indescribable level of his pain means he is more than qualified to understand and enter into yours, when no one else can. His experience of no ‘WITHNESS’ means wherever you are he can be WITH you. He was the first to cry when your loved one died, the first to weep when your partner walked out on you, the first to feel your pain when you received that tragic news. Because of the cross of Jesus, ‘the singular nature of extreme human pain is an illusion’. You are not alone. He is there. He is not like me, half-listening, sort of attentive, watching the football, partly present. He is FULLY PRESENT and there is not a tear he does not notice. 

“You have kept count of my tossings; put my tears in your bottle. Are they not in your book?” Psalm 56:8 

If you would like to find out more about the book and order your copy, you can do so on the publisher’s website

Alain is husband to Rachel and Dad to Annie and Erin. Living and loving in Lurgan. “I have the prviliege to lead in emmanuel church and 24-7prayer.  Excited about seeing a ‘new thing’ happening in the nation of Ireland in these days.  Other things I am passionate about are reading, hanging out with friends, most sports and the mighty Liverpool! “
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