I seldom know what to do with the mess created by pain and suffering. When sickness or tragedy explodes in my life, the commotion leaves me dazed. I’m not good on my feet in a crisis.
- My brain stalls.
- My stomach hurts.
- My hands go numb.
Restoring calm takes effort. I’m left in a dimly lit room with the troublesome questions like: Why is this happening? Can anyone tell me what to do? Suffering creates messes. While literal messes, like blood-covered clothing and neglected pet accidents are manageable, emotional messes are not. I want to clean up emotional upsets because they feel uncomfortable. I want to scrub away inner pain because it frightens me. I’ve learned, though, this emotional bedlam can be useful. Painful experiences in my life accomplish positive things that wouldn’t have occurred otherwise. Suffering exposes my nature. Struggling for solid footing in the midst of pain, I’ve discovered what’s inside of me. Some things I do and say show strengths. At other times, not so much. I’m humbled each time I realize that I’m not yet all that I think I am. The truth is, an easy life doesn’t produce strong character.
My favorite Bible story is about a guy named Job. In a short time, he lost his family, business and health. Devastated, he complains to God, accuses Him, looks for Him, longs for Him and laments. In Job 30:19 he says, “He (God) throws me into the mud, and I am reduced to dust and ashes.” I felt this pain when my husband nearly died from pneumonia, and when I spent much of my only pregnancy hospitalized. My illness cost me the ability to have more children. God eventually responds to Job by saying, “I am God, and you are not.” Ouch! Did this mean God didn’t care about Job’s pain? No, God showed concern by being with Job in his suffering.
I’ve now discovered that God is with me through every bit of pain this life brings. He gives surprising strength to keep his wounded children moving forward, if we let Him. The song, “I’ll be Your Miracle” by Third Day, has been so encouraging to me during times when I couldn’t find my foothold.
Messy emotional mountains can either overwhelm us, or teach us to take God’s hands and allow Him into our pain to make us stronger climbers.