The Suffering of the World : Artist's Comments
Suffering has meaning.
In this painting Christ and the Church ( the woman) are linked by suffering (note the two spears). Christ suffered for us and so we too must bear our suffrage for His sake. But although the sufferings depicted are physical, our spiritual failings cause us more agony. The balloon and the ivory tower are there to remind us how often we lock ourselves in our own "ivory towers" when our trials become unbearable or we cannot see any meaning in our troubles.
In the circle behind Christ and the Church the painter has depicted his own private heaven, actual places where he has been happy: from left to right the places are as follows: the student's home in Nuremberg, the family home in Austria, two family homes in Maidenhead and the river Thames.
At the bottom he has depicted examples of suffering: war, violence, and death.
Surely he took up our pain
and bore our suffering,
yet we considered him punished by God,
stricken by him, and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
and by his wounds we are healed.
We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
each of us has turned to our own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.
Isaiah 53:4 - quoted from BibleHub