Somehow, we as a society decided pain and suffering are not fair. And, rather than face the grief and work through it; we are avoiding it. Suffering is the last thing we want to admit about ourselves. We go about our lives hoping God -and everyone else- might not see us as exhausted, anxious souls.
But, by avoiding the pain, we are losing out on the sweet part of the suffering. Because even despite our best efforts to hide the hurt and cover it up, He knows. God sees us as we are and moves toward us in grace.
My hope is through these words you find more in your wounds with your God. Let’s walk through this one step at a time.
Can we agree pain is a leveling agent? We’re all brought to our knees by it. Your pain might look like a job loss or divorce or abuse or ongoing sexual struggle. Some of my pain has looked like infertility, marriage difficulties (including my significant emotional dependency issues) and a cancer diagnosis. Maybe you feel unable to soothe the grief or cover the emptiness that sorrow has hollowed out. As I have at several times in my life.
But, if in our suffering we are left with our fists clenched and a bitter heart; we lose. God isn’t promising a life without pain. We must unravel that story and write a new one where we face the pain to find something more.
“I will give you the treasures of darkness.” (Isaiah 45:3 NKJV)
God promises there is more buried deep in the hurt. In order to receive those treasures, we need to relax the clenched fists, take deep breaths and open our hearts to the treasures the Lord is holding for us.
Christ is seeking out that emptiness in your soul carved out by loss. It is, in fact, the holy place where God intends to meet with you.
As hard as it may be to believe, God permits this hollowing out just so there’s more room within us for His peace. So, stop and receive it as such.
In the first chapter of 2 Corinthians, suffering and God unite in one beautiful sentence: “He always comes alongside us to comfort us in every suffering so that we can come alongside those who are in any painful trial.” (2 Corinth 1:4 TPT)
He comes alongside us in every suffering, your suffering. I remember the first week of my cancer diagnosis. I asked my husband how he was doing and he said, “I find this all ‘strangely invigorating.’” Cancer breeds fear and pain. And, yes, we were both feeling all of it. But, my husband sensed, as I did, there was something else going on. God was in the cancer diagnosis and He was up to something. Our treasure was God allowing us to let go of things that weren’t important and instead draw closer to Him, to each other, in a new way.
It’s hard, I know. Pause before the emptiness, the hurt, the fear you feel and wait. Resist being tempted to do something with it.
Can you find a way to sit WITH the pain so your hurt becomes a way for God INTO the pain?
I really do appreciate this blog entry. Pain does carve the space for a deeper knowledge of God. It’s not the only way we know God, of course; we know him through the joy and the beauty inLife as well. But the pain does not have to be wasted. This is actually amazing.
Thank you Connally! And yes you are so right-God moves through beauty and joy as well. Transformation happens through great suffering AND great love. Thanks your your encouragement.
Thanks Kit for the reminder of our pain and how we process it.In my private time with my Father this morning I was reading Job 23:10 He knows the way that I take; and when he has tested me I will come forth as gold.What a great reminder of the benefits of our suffering.If I would stop complaining.Praise the Lord and thanks again Kit.
Thank you for your comments, Paul. We all need to be reminded to stop and ask God how to think about what we experience in our lives-including pain.
So beautifully put!
Thank you Anita! So good to hear from you!
Kit, like you have many times over the years I’ve known you, you allow God to use you to benefit those around you. At first I just wanted to read it because it intrigued me and I finally had a moment to read. But then, as I read through it, I realized how much I related to your husband’s comment when we first started on the journey of MS with my wife. We hated it (still do), but through this process, I’ve learned to love Kat even more and to treasure each moment with her, and more importantly, I’ve learned to trust God to provide hope in ways I never thought possible. Thanks for sharing this.
Jeremiah, I am grateful for your kind words. How wonderful that you have allowed God to help you take the pain of your experience and transform it into love and care for your wife.
We learned to sit while my husband searched for job openings/what we wanted in our area for a year. There were plenty in VA but taking a leap of faith and WAITING was difficult.
Stacy, waiting for something that significant is so hard. I hope and pray that you and your husband were able to experience God and His Presence during that challenging time.