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?