I want to speak into pain today. Pain and confusion. Pain and confusion and doubt. Pain, confusion, doubt and fear… one leads to another, doesn’t it? This post is inspired out of the pain my friend is being subjected to in the all-out struggle and fight she is in the midst of to become a mom herself. She feels alone, abandoned by most of her friends and by God. She feels hopeless and cheated.
I understand many of the feelings she expresses because, like her, I am missing something in my life that I want very very much. My own mother was born into heaven just 9 months ago. I too feel abandoned, at times hopeless and cheated. This isn’t how I saw my, or her, life going. This wasn’t the plan. She’s supposed to still be here.
I ask God so many questions.
Life isn’t what I always thought it to be… it seems like I’m continuing the loss of childhood innocence. It’s been a long time since I’ve been a child, I didn’t realize there was more to lose. Perhaps that’s just how life and growing older is, always evolving and changing. Losing and gaining. That’s what makes the whole of the human experience a beautiful patchwork. Joy + pain. We know the sun shines because of the shadows.
Are you in pain right now? Do you feel hopeless in the quiet hours, but somehow you’re keeping the light alive for the sake of your kids?… for the sake of your spouse?… for the sake of yourself? I encourage you to hold onto the drive to not give up. Keep looking for the sun. And on days when the clouds are thick and impenetrable, know that the sun is still there— it won’t hide forever.
I’m thankful that I have someone I can direct all of my questions to. If I didn’t have God, what would I do with all of this pain I feel and see? Where would I turn? It’s easy to think God is silent. But he answers our questions; if we search his Word we will find answers. In fact, he gave the answers before we ever had the questions.
Lately I’ve been wrestling with the question of why God made life this way. Why does life have to be hard and pain-filled? Is there a point to all of this? The passage I have in the About section came to my mind.
Romans 5:2-5: “Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory. We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.”
God’s always working on us. He accepts us for who we are but he loves us too much to leave us there. He wants to come in and make us new; new in him. This passage in Romans shows us one of the ways he works on us and how, indeed, he doesn’t abandon us. He’s building our endurance, our character and he’s making our confident hope ever stronger through the problems, trials, struggles, and in the pain. ‘Cause, Lord knows, there may be even harder situations to go through in the future. He’s making sure we’re ready, leading us each step of the way. And when we feel like hope has abandoned us, it’s in this very time that he’s reinforcing that seemingly lost hope. I’m learning that everything just takes time. Ugh, and I don’t want it to. I just want to be there already. Haven’t I arrived yet?! Can’t I just have all the good without the bad please?
For the believer, God is not only developing and strengthening us in the hard times, but he’s reminding us of our need for him. He’s drawing us nearer and deeper into relationship with him. He is closer than ever to us when we are broken and shattered:
Psalm 34:18: “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.”
In the name of being real and transparent, I have to admit there are moments and days that I don’t feel like God is near to me and my broken heart. Does he really even care that my hopes, dreams and heart are all shattered? But he always reveals himself tenderly to me. I keep learning that everything is not instantaneous like I expect it to be. We are all in process all the time. I won’t “arrive” until I arrive in heaven. And when I do I will be so glad I kept the hope alive. I’ll be so glad God built my character and faith up just the way he did. I’ll see how he was gripping my hand every step of the way. I’ll see how he had it all taken care of all along. Matt Thiessen puts it eloquently in his song, Let it all Out: “Remember, the end will justify the pain it took to get us there.”
So instead of letting your pain lead to confusion, confusion to doubt, and doubt to fear, let God develop endurance in you. Endurance will lead to strength of character, and strength of character will make your hope unshakable. I know that’s what I want: joy and hope (always and right now!); but we can’t have the hope until God builds up the foundation under it.
Cling to the Father, my friend. The reward ahead is good if you don’t give up.
I like the way Dave Willis put it: “God has a purpose for your pain, a reason for your struggle and a reward for your faithfulness. Trust Him and don’t give up.”