In that moment, I didn't cry, but I felt the presence of God heavy like a downy blanket. I'm so thankful I knew Him then.
My sweet dad made the two hour trip to make sure I was okay and block "the boy" from contacting me again. He walked with me around the lake and listened to my frustration (yes, I have a great dad).
Tears would come later. And anger. And questions. And analyzing every thing we both did and said. For months and months my heart just hurt. I felt ashamed for not having anticipated disaster, for not having more wisdom.
Even all these years later, I don't have answers for that situation.
But I did learn the comfort of my God.
I think about this verse:
"The heart knows its own bitterness, and no stranger shares its joy." (Proverbs 14:10 ESV)
That's the frustrating thing about being in pain--not being fully understood. There are parts of our hearts that no one can touch or understand--in both joy and bitterness.
If you're in some sort of pain, I want to encourage you with some truths that encourage me today:
In pain, there is the comfort of God.
"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God." (2 Corinthians 1:3-4, ESV)While others may grow weary of our struggles, God is never impatient with our weaknesses. When others don't completely understand, God does. When we can't even find the words for how we feel, God gets it.
In pain, there is comforting others.
The verse above says that God comforts us so we can take that same comfort and pass it on to the next hurting person. I remember soon after my big breakup, an older women sat down with me for tea and told her own story of heartache. It was simple, but so comforting.
It gives me hope that God does not waste my pain.
(My friend, Ashlee Proffitt, is jumping into this cycle of comfort-receiving and comfort-giving with a ministry to survivors of miscarriage, stillbirth, and infant loss. She just launched a ministry, called The Morning, that she hopes will encourage anyone suffering in that way.)
In pain, there is the hope of heaven.
Maybe we think we should reserve this hope for when we're faced with death, but I'm beginning to find hope in this even for the "smaller" suffering. When things hurt I remember that they will not always hurt. One day pain and sadness will be a distant memory.
"And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away." And he who was seated on the throne said, "Behold, I am making all things new." Also he said, "Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true."" (Rev 21:3-5 ESV)
"For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us." (Rom 8:18 ESV)Don't be afraid to walk with sorrow and suffering.
I picked up Hind's Feet on High Places by Hannah Hurnard last week at my favorite thrift store. My college roommate wrote her senior English thesis on this book, but I had yet to read it. It's an allegory of Much-Afraid's journey from slavery to fear to "high places" with the shepherd. She is surprised (and disturbed) that instead of "Peace and Joy," the shepherd gives her "Sorrow and Suffering" as her travel companions. She soon learns that when she grasps their hands, they lead her through the roughest parts of her journey. The Shepherd, too, is always there when she calls.
I am mulling over the thought of grasping hands with sorrow and suffering.
When my spirit is crushed, I often spend so much time and energy analyzing the situation that I fail to allow God to simply comfort me. I don't want to walk with sorrow and suffering; I want immediate relief!
I do this when my husband and I have an argument. I did this when people began to leave our church for various reasons a few years ago. I was crushed by endless agonizing over what they did, what I did, what we as a church possibly did wrong.
In the midst of that heartache, a friend reminded me to keep focused on Jesus. Any time we focus on ourselves or others, we find sin, not hope.
"Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God." (Psa 43:5 ESV)
"Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God." (Heb 12:1-2 ESV)
"Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God." (Col 3:2-3 ESV)Does God need us to sort it all out?
Do we need everything to be sorted out?
Actually, no. We just need HIM.
Today's printable Bible verse coloring page is from Psalm 34:18. You can download your page HERE or by clicking on the image below!*
PRAYING the Word
Help us find our comfort and our hope in You, God of all comfort. Thank you that you are near. Thank you that you save. Thank you that you comfort.
QUESTIONS to consider:
1. Have you ever felt God near in your sorrow or pain?
2. Do you struggle to want answers more than God's comfort?
2. Do you struggle to want answers more than God's comfort?
3. Do you think having all the answers really would be comforting?
*I'm so happy for you to enjoy my coloring pages and printables for your personal (not commercial) use! Use for Bible studies, church groups or events, and Sunday school classes are all fine! If you're in doubt, I'm happy to answer any questions. All artwork and photos are copyright Marydean Draws. If you share this, you're awesome (!), and as a courtesy, please link back to this post and not the PDF file. Thank you!!
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