When Life Hurts

I sit in church, my eyes on the pastor but my mind only half-listening to his words. Painful memories come unbidden to my mind, like waves ebbing and flowing onto the shore, then receding, only to flow back again. It is hard to focus these days. The trauma of the last few months is still fresh and raw, and while I appear in public as if I have it all together, able to smile and laugh, in a lot of ways I am still going through the motions. I drive home, deep in thought, and a song comes onto my Spotify playlist. I sing along to the chorus as tears finally come and roll slowly down my face.

But You, Son of Man
Love incarnate
You don’t see from far away
You come, sit with me
And grieve with me
And I see tears on Your face

Bethany Barnard, Tears on your Face

As I drive and listen, I picture Jesus sitting next to me and shedding tears over my grief. Sometimes it’s hard to remember that Jesus weeps with me in my pain. It’s astounding to me that He cares. I was talking with a friend the other day about how easy it is to equate my view of God with how men have treated me. Yet how freeing it is to realize that God is not like the men in my life. He has already proved His love for me at the Cross (Rom 5:8). He is gentle and humble, and loves me in spite of my unworthiness. He never places unreasonable demands on me. His yoke is easy, and his burden is light (Matt 11:28-30).

Jesus calls us to come to Him. In our pain, in our confusion, in our doubt. He knows our thoughts before we even think them (Ps 139:4). He knows our half-formed questions. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, and to cry out to Him in your pain. It is not a sin to ask why, or ‘where are you God’? David did this often, and so did Christ when He was hanging on the Cross, or wrestling in the Garden of Gethsemane. The fact that Jesus came to earth means that He identifies with us in all our earthly struggles. And he knows His children intimately. He is well aware of our anger, our bitterness, our fear of the future. We don’t have to have it all figured out before we come to Him. We are promised that if we draw near to Him, He will draw near to us (James 4:8). Wow, what a sweet promise. So let’s come to Him, sit at His feet, and rest. He is enough for us.

Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

Isaiah 41:10, ESV