Pain has been a frequent player on the stage of life lately.   

It appears that “he” is more prevalent today than at other times.

Google “West Michigan Christian Radio Host” and you’ll find part of what I mean.    To say that this man was well known and loved in the Christian community would be an understatement.   To say that the church has and will continue to have a black eye over this for a long time is an understatement as well.

A conversation online with multiple adoptive parents and the general consensus is, “Our children are struggling and need help.”

A family vacation to celebrate a decade as a family – with some great big pain dropped right in the middle of it.

Another “expat” in Haiti murdered this week.

A teenager’s bone marrow transplant is delayed – forcing her to miss the 1st semester of next school year.

Another friend with marital struggles.    Another friend trying to help their siblings through marital struggles..

The betrayal, the pain, the suffering – I know we’re in a broken world, but why so much?   Why now?

God, what’s happening and why are you allowing this all to happen?

I’ll be the first to admit, I don’t know.  I don’t have an answer.

And that makes me mad.   And I think God’s okay with us being mad that we don’t know why these things are happening.

But I think there are a couple of things we can learn through these rough times……

  • God is here even when things are tough.   I’ve seen and felt multiple times where people have been the hands and feet of God helping struggling people.
  • The church (not God, but the gathering of “His” people) has a lot of work to do.   We as a church do great in helping someone who is in pain that you can see.    But the pain you can’t see, we don’t want to get involved with that so much.
  • The guilt and shame that the unmentioned radio personality felt even before being arrested – yet he didn’t or had no place to reach for help.
  • The pain that his friends and family feel now – I’ve been walking with one of them through it, it’s gut-wrenching.
  • The shame and confusion that so many adopted kids feel – yet very few outside of their families will understand and are willing to step in and “sit with them” in that pain.
  • The “Sunday morning mask” doesn’t work so well.    Hiding our pain, not being able to be real with fellow Christians, friends and family members and having to sit in church acting like all is well is not working.    We need to wake up and start being a whole lot more open and honest with each other about our struggles.

When we do that, when we are more open and more honest with each other, then healing can happen.   

It won’t be pretty.   It will actually probably be pretty ugly.   But it will be real and it will begin healing.

Then we can begin to see God using His church to bring healing into the world and to reduce the pain.

Right now, many people, unfortunately, don’t see the church that way, but rather the opposite.

If Jesus had dinner with the tax collectors and the prostitutes, then why can’t we be real and admit to each other our pains and our sufferings?

We know that ultimately, Christ will win the war, we just need to fight these battles better.

It will reduce the pain,

Tom