Trusting God When It Really Hurts
Today, I've got all kinds of pressing matters upon me, things like pulling the dryer out from the wall, to sweep behind and scrubbing the bricks around the fireplace. Rearrange the pictures on the walls? Yes. Suddenly the arrangement they’ve been in really bothers me. But sit down and write? I want to. I really do, but these words are not easy. Today’s topic is about trusting God when it really hurts. I tend to shy away from pain, both my own and other people’s. Jesus didn't shy away from pain though, so tough as it is, by His grace, neither will I.
I won’t pretend to have this all figured out. I don’t want to give you cliché answers. Maybe you’re experiencing deep pain right now. I want you to know that I care, that God cares, and that he hurts with you. I’ve written about why God is trustworthy- he is completely sovereign, he is infinite in wisdom, and he is perfect in love. I’ve talked about how the Holy Spirit is the one who changes our hearts, who helps us to take this knowledge, from something we acknowledge with our minds, to a deeper understanding that we possess with our hearts. Sometimes the pain is so deep, the evil so bitter, and we have a hard time seeing where God is. What then?
Honor your pain. Don’t ignore it or try to numb it. Though well intentioned, when we try to comfort a grieving person by telling them that the pain will go away, we can unintentionally hurt them more. Pain has a purpose. Philip Yancey gave a speech to a group of students at Virginia Tech in 2007, after the horrific shooting that occurred there, taking 33 lives. He said this,
If you want to read more of what Philip Yancey said (so much wisdom) you can read it here.
God does not cause pain, but sometimes he allows it, and he has promised, that for those who love him, he will redeem it (Romans 5:3). So where is God in our pain? He’s with us, and he uses his people, his church to be his hands and feet, to offer comfort. Seek out community in your pain. We are not meant to be alone.
Finally, bring your pain to God through prayer. You might be angry. He can take it. You might not understand. You don’t have to. Trust in the one who loves you perfectly. Jesus endured the most incredible pain imaginable, willingly, in his love for you. He showed us through his example that he has compassion on those who are hurting. I will write more about how Jesus faced his pain, and what it means for us, next time.
For now, I’ll leave you with this. Pain is a part of life for now. It won’t always be like this. Trust that this is true, what John writes in Revelation 21:4,