Take chances. Abandon all the rules. Ditch the recipe. Color outside the lines.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Hope for the Hurting

I refrained from writing anything publicly this past week as both the anniversary of the death of someone I loved dearly and my sobriety birthday came and went.  Six years seems like such a long time when I say it out loud, but as I sat Sunday night and thought about that time all those years ago, it seemed like it was just yesterday.  Then I spoke to someone this week whose current situation is reminiscent of that time 6 years ago.  I looked in her eyes and saw her pain and I wanted to hug that broken girl hiding behind it.  She told her story and I was reminded of that 18 year old kid I was.  That girl with broken hands and the aroma of alcohol veiled behind her lips that spoke of God like she knew Him.  Wanting of rescue while clinging to pain.

Pain is a very real part of our lives.  It weaves its way into our memories, hides in the shadows of our addictions, and hunkers down in the corners of our failures.  It’s so tangible, so visible, so very real; that at times it becomes hard for us to see anything outside of it. 

Pain hollows out these nooks in our scars that bitterness makes a home in.  It gouges valleys in our hearts where regret and feelings of failure build cities fortified by the words of the broken people who touch us.  And we feel helpless, broken, without hope. 

It’s hard to remember God in those moments.  It’s hard because pain has convinced us that we are not good enough for him.  That we are too broken for him to want.  That who we are can’t possibly be loved by someone as glorious as Him.  Worse still, pain may have even convinced us that Jesus couldn’t possibly understand our pain.  Our pain taunts us with whispers of, “He’s perfect and you are not, He never hurt the way you hurt.”  And we believe the whispers because it makes so much sense. 

I heard recently this quote from someone much smarter than myself:
“The key to understanding Jesus is in His humanity not His deity.”
So often we focus on the power of His deity; His touching death and bringing life, His commanding of storms to silence, and His glory in resurrection.  We miss his humanity.  We miss his loud sobs at losing a friend.  We miss his anxious bloody drops of sweat as He pleaded for rescue from His purpose.  We miss His tender care of desperate people looking for some kind of relief from the same pain that haunts us.

So great a God we serve, that not only did He speak us into existence with one breath, but also He slipped into skin and walked among us.  Who Jesus was in His humanity is God’s tangible picture of who He is and how He relates to us. 

Our God is not a stranger to the sting of pain, to the sting of our pain.  We hurt and is there with us, see because, we are one now. 

It’s OK to hurt, to cry excessive, over dramatic sobs.  It’s ok to be heart broken and fall apart in the midst of the darkness that pain brings with it.  But don’t let pain make cities.  Don’t let it define you.  Don’t let it convince you that God doesn’t understand you.  Don’t let it drive you to hopelessness. 

You are held by One who understands your pain.  You are comforted by One who relates to your struggle.  You are cradled on the chest scarred by the hatred of this world.  You are loved more than you could possibly imagine. 

Hurt and be comforted.  Cry and be consoled.  Want and be loved.

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