For Those Who are Hurting
The following is a journal entry of mine from 3 1/2 years ago. I know many people who are struggling with grief and some intensely painful situations right now, so it seems like a good time to share this. In the past three years, I’ve learned so much about dealing with pain in the power and love of the Spirit. I’m happy to say that the joy the Lord promised to me on the day I wrote this not only came to me that VERY day but has continued to increase in me every day since.
Hold on, friends. There is no pain that is greater than Christ in you.
Today I’m struggling with some deep pain. For over a year, I’ve been pouring my heart, my tears, and my prayers out before the Lord. I’ve invited others to join me in praying. And during some of my prayer times, I’ve sensed the Lord saying things like “It’s going to get worse before it gets better” and “Don’t give up.”
The Lord has assured me that He stands in authority over our situation. He sees us and He is not going anywhere. I have these assurances from the Lord deep in my spirit. But some days, they’re more of a dim flicker than a blazing beacon of hope.
I’m broken. I’m crushed. I’m emotionally drained. I’m heartbroken. My heart hurts so deeply there are no words to describe it adequately.
This morning I opened my bible to connect with the truth, and the Lord gave me the sweetest gift. When I opened my Bible, I opened to John 16. My eyes instantly fell on these words of Jesus that I’d underlined on some past day: “…you will have pain, but your pain will turn to joy…and no one will take your joy from you… I have said this to you that in me you may have peace. In the world you face trouble. But take courage; I have conquered the world.” John 16:2-b; 22b; 33
What a beautiful gift! Today I gladly received this promise from the Lord. But I’ll admit that sometimes it’s difficult to do that. So, how do we connect with the words of hope in scripture so that we may be comforted and encouraged even before we’re delivered?
My thought: We simply believe them.
We believe they are for us. We believe they are for now. We believe they’re not just some words spoken by Jesus to other people in the past to help them through one particularly tough and painful time, but words that are still being spoken over our heads and still carry all the authority and power of Christ to heal and comfort the same as they did when they first flowed from our sweet Savior’s lips.
We believe them, and we receive them. We breathe them into our souls and rest in their truth because of Who spoke them to us.
I don’t know how long this pain will last. But I’ve been assured by my Savior that I do not walk alone.
He is the God who saves.
He is the God who sees.
He is God with us.
Jesus said, “Come to me all you that are weary and carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” He also said that if we want to follow him, we must deny ourselves and take up our crosses.
So, I’m carrying this cross because he carried his. And I can do it because I know I’m carrying it in His company and strength. I will follow Jesus even in pain because He is the One who defeated death and darkness. I’m confident that He will redeem every ounce of this awful time. He will renew. He will restore. He will bring light and life back where things seem barren, and we will know that He is the Lord and He has done it.
We don’t find relief from our pain by trying to avoid it or thrashing and raging against it. We find relief by accepting it because it’s not bigger than us, and it’s definitely not bigger than our God.
I’ll carry this cross and see my sorrow turn into joy. How do I know? Because my Lord said so. And that’s all I need.
“Then the nations that are left all around you shall know that I, the LORD, have rebuilt the ruined places and replanted that which was desolate; I, the LORD, have spoken, and I will do it.” Ezekiel 36:36