Pain.

Little word… that can affect in a big way.  And, it affects all of us at some point in time.

It cuts.  It stings.  It swells.  It burns.

We cringe.  We limp.  We cry.

For some reason with physical pain, however, we realize that we need help.  We realize our need for a doctor’s care, stitches, surgery, medication, and  proper cleansing to keep away infections.  When I broke my wrist, the pain was great.  I cringed.  I cried.  I went to the ER, hoping they could alleviate the problem, and alleviate the pain quickly!  As you know, I have five boys (yea, we’ve had a few ER visits here and there….) and I would never think to leave a bleeding wound dirty and open to infection, or a splinter in the skin to fester…..

So, why do we hide the pain in our hearts so quickly?

Why don’t we understand that pain points to a condition that needs healing?  Pain shouts to us that it in itself is not the problem…. it’s only alerting us that something deeper is going on, and it needs attention now.  Yet, we live with those signs day in, day out.  We carry our pain with us to the grocery store, work, the gym, the movie theatre, and out to dinner — we tell it to be quiet, and then we put on a big smile, cos “I’m ok.”

We also seem to think that sometimes how we care for our pain is determined by “how” the injury occurred.  How silly would it be if I only cared for a gun-shot wound if it was only the result of some-such horrid accident out of my control?  What if my mind-set was that I did not deserve help, care or attention to the wound if it was the result of my mistake?  Picture this:  a bleeding wound, life-threatening, pain beyond control… yet, I do not allow myself to have proper care, because it was inflicted by me.

Sounds silly, huh?

But my friend, we do it every day.  We have pain. We have hurt.  We have burdens.  Yet, we bury them deep inside — “How dare I even think about that wound?!  It was my mistake! I’m so stupid… how could I even think of speaking to anyone about it for help, and God surely doesn’t deserve to hear me cry out about this!  It was me!”

Even worse…. I surely wouldn’t ever poke into an open, gaping, bleeding wound causing another one even more pain than they are currently having. Rather, I would rush them to immediate care!   They might be responding to the pain with tears, anger, quietness, or reaching arms.   It would not matter;  friend, foe, stranger, or best buddy. Right?  We would find the help that they needed, and quickly!  Yet, we feel the need to look on others who are hurting inside, and might be demonstrating it in different ways, quickly with judgment, criticism, and often not the help that they need.  Let’s think about that.  The kind words of others have carried me through many dark times.  Smiles, hugs, and words of light gave me hope…. Hope that doesn’t disappoint.  Hope that said “Hold on.”  Hope that said, “Just because you don’t always feel God, doesn’t mean He isn’t there.”  Instead of being the one who places more burdens and weight on others, let’s breathe life and hope.

Are you hurting tonight?  Do you hide the pain inside… sometimes not even looking at it really yourself, let alone someone else?  Please hear me tonight.  You are not alone.  You are loved.  This life is tough, and sometimes things can feel so foggy that there seems to be no way out.  I’ve been there too.  I’ve hurt silently, and I’ve had pain that feels like no end is in sight.  But, care is possible.  I promise you.  Light can be found… even in the darkest, lowest places.  So, I say to you tonight… Reach out.  Don’t suffer in silence.  It doesn’t matter how the pain came about, or who is to blame… healing for your heart is possible.  There is cleansing, ointment, and beauty that comes and changes our scars forever.

 “Nevertheless, I am continually with you;
you hold my right hand.
You guide me with your counsel,
and afterward you will receive me to glory.
Whom have I in heaven but you?
And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.
My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” Psalm 73:23-26

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