It takes about 5 seconds to scroll through your Facebook newsfeed to know people are hurting. Some people put it out for everyone to see but others carry around their pain more privately.
I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that I am reading a book called The Mended Heart by Suzanne Eller to review for the blog when I finish it. As I’ve read about the broken heart, I’ve felt inadequate as a minister and a friend. I am reading stories of hurts and pains that I haven’t personally experienced. I actually wrote in my journal “I feel as if I have no business speaking into the life of a hurting person…I haven’t hurt enough.” I didn’t write those words because I haven’t hurt. In fact, I have hurt deeply at times. I just haven’t hurt in all the ways described in the Eller’s book.
I guess God read my journal because the following day, I realized why the book had been put in my hand. Hurt that came in the form of a phone call from a dear friend left me reeling in pain. The message that came from the other end of the phone broke my heart and I find myself grief-stricken.
One phone call and my reality was altered. One phone call and I am saddled with hurt that is deep, raw and almost inexplainable. I find myself mourning a loss I wasn’t prepared for. I am confused, full of questions and unsure of how to respond.
I’m grieving because I care–because I love. The reality is that when we love much, we grieve much. Thankfully, where there is grief there is grace. Grace is found in the person of Jesus. This Jesus–the one who embodies everything divine–is familiar with our pain.
Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.—Hebrews 4:14-16
Are you hurting? Is the pain so raw you can’t trust yourself to respond? Are you asking the questions, trying to make sense of it all? Check it…Jesus is the answer. I know that sounds really “churchy” but it’s the only real hope we have.
We do not have a Savior who is unsympathetic to our deeper moments of pain. He suffered and celebrated the full range of human emotions.–Suzanne Eller
Take it all to Him. Be real, be raw, be mad and hurt and disgusted. You’re going to turn somewhere whether inward or outward. The only healthy place to turn is to God. Being authentic means that we don’t hide our real feelings from God. We express doubts, fear and truth with God.
I’ve often heard people say that it is okay to tell God what you don’t like or tell God you are mad at Him. He can handle it. Those words are true. He can handle it. Yet, I’ve heard contradictory advice when it comes to prayer. One minute we are told we can say anything to God and then next minute we are told to treat God with reverence because you are talking to the God of the Universe, after all. Which one is it? Be real with God or be reverent? Well…both.
When you are hurting, you need relationship with a God who cares, who understands, who gets you. It is acceptable and even preferable to tell God how you feel about your circumstances, the people in your life and God, Himself. Does God know how you feel without you telling Him? Yes, He does. But to bring God your frustrations gives voice and recognition to your feelings. Sometimes the hardest part of being real with God is being real with ourselves.
It is in this realness, we find healing. When we acknowledge the pain we begin the process of healing. Pushing aside grief only prolongs it. Pain left unattended isn’t given an opportunity to heal. Address your pain and bring it out to God. He is big, strong and capable of carrying the weight of your pain.
Question: What deep hurt are you carrying around today? Who have you already turned to? Take your true feelings to God.