I’ve been thinking a lot lately about pain. Not necessarily the physical kind, though that hurts too.
But the pain in so many souls. The pains that are scars from the past. The pain that is wounds from the present. Or from yesterday.
The pain that comes from dreams deferred or denied. The pain that comes from seeing the struggles of others.
Why am I thinking about it? Why not sweep it under a rug or push it over in the corner?
Because I am more and more convinced that the way to healing comes through two places – and it has to go through both:
- First, the healing can only come through Jesus. Jesus often uses other people to bring that healing, but without Him, there will be no healing.
- Second, the healing can only come through openness. If we don’t acknowledge the pain – to ourselves and to an appropriate group of other people, then we aren’t truly acknowledging that grace needs to happen, that healing needs to happen and that healing can happen.
But let’s be honest, we in the first world don’t do well at being open about pain. We don’t like to admit there is pain in the world – and we especially don’t like to admit that there is pain in the world that is deep, emotional and not immediately visible to the “regular” eye. Someone fell and broke a bone – we’re great at helping them and allowing them to admit their pain.
Someone struggles with depression – not so much. Someone who struggles with a family member who suffers from PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder)? Definitely don’t want to get into that. Someone struggles with self identity issues and feels like they have been alienated from family and friends? That can be deadly but it’s not something that we typically want to deal with.
When Jesus was here on this earth, he ate supper with tax collectors, sinners and prostitutes. From what I’ve read, tax collectors from His time make IRS agents look like angels. He regularly spent time with those who are hurting, those who are on the “outer fringes” of society, those who suffer.
For a church to be truly living the way Jesus did, we have to be willing to meet people where they are.
Where they are – with their faults, their baggage, their pain.
Where they are – with their homelessness, with their dysfunctional families, with their struggling kids.
Where they are – with their questions about Jesus, their questions about Satan, their questions about how good and evil can co-exist.
So let’s ask ourselves:
- Are we willing to accept others, to love others and to accept their pain and walk with them in that pain?
- Are we willing to be open about the pain that we face so others can encourage us and to encourage others to be open? Are we willing to live by example?
God is the ultimate healer. He will heal everyone who believes in Him. He will heal them on his time frame, not always when we want.
May we help the healing rather than make it worse.
P.S. Below are videos from two songs that have spoken quite deeply to me about pain, about healing and about God’s leading us through the pain of life. I hope you find them meaningful…….