It was a deep down hurt . . . one that wouldn’t go away. It had been a tough week, a tough month, heck, a tough few months, and I was so exhausted, I couldn’t even figure out why.
And then I remembered: there was stuff going on in my family. As I thought about it, my head started to hurt, and then my heart started to hurt, and it was that dull aching hurt, the kind that feels worse when you’re lying in bed at night . . . the kind that aches so. Once in a while, someone would unknowingly say something, or I’d read something somewhere, or hear a refrain of music, and tears would suddenly start rolling down my cheeks.
Time has passed somewhat, and the hurt or the problem hasn’t gone away: it’s just that I’ve started to learn to live with it. There are some problems, that sometimes stay with you a long time, it’s not an easy problem to solve. Some problems last a lifetime. And problems, such as my mom’s long-term disability, and my dad’s decreasing ability to take care of her, and refusal to get help or advice, and difficult conversations or non-conversations that trigger a lifetime of dysfunctional responses . . . some seem like there is no easy answer.
This wasn’t the first time I’ve dealt with problems that seem impossible to handle. My husband’s adhd, for one. (That’s an ongoing thing written in more depth elsewhere on this blog). But, somehow we’ve made it through. Each time, God helped me with the impossible, and healed each day, each hour, and moment: the confusion, the exhaustion, the wanting a shoulder to cry on or to be understood, even just a little bit.
With circumstances swirling around me, I wavered between sadness, stress, and anger. The anger seemed the most problematic: I went to work and I was angry. I went to church and I was angry. It seemed that the world had gone on, and bible studies, and serving, and cooking and all that continued on when my world had crashed. Did they not know? (I hadn’t told them). It seemed irrelevant, the praise songs, the bible reading, the encouragement to continue to read the bible, and keep serving, when inside I was falling apart and feeling hollow. Where does all that fit in when life happens to you? (How is all that relevant, when your child is diagnosed with a debilitating illness? How is all that relevant when you’re going through a divorce? How is all that relevant when you’re struggling parent, barely holding it together? How is all that relevant when someone you love, dies?)
I wasn’t being fair. But when you’re in pain, and anger, and trying to process things, you usually aren’t thinking straight. I wanted someone to sit by me and hold my hand and tell me they know, and it’s ok. That it will be ok. That I’m praying for you. At the same time, paradoxically, I didn’t want people talking to me at all. It’s a rare individual, who knows when to say something to someone hurting, and when to refrain. There’s been a few in my life, and I am so thankful for them. But even for these gems, they rarely get it right all of the time. I’ve found even for myself, it’s hard trying to talk to someone who is hurting badly. On the one hand, you feel their pain, and you can hardly breathe. If it hurts you this bad, how much must they be hurting? On the other hand, you feel awkward, not knowing what to say, afraid to say anything that will make the pain worse.
But it only took one, or two people, saying that they cared and they were praying, that made a difference. Or maybe it was that one person, who didn’t know me, but looked at me and smiled. Or that person who said a kind word. It wasn’t much, but it made a difference.
And it does make a difference. What you do, does make a difference. Even if you don’t know how or when.
And for every need that is known and prayed for, if I am any example, there are thousands more that are unheard of, and not widely prayed for.
Some are not ready to share, not just yet. Some may never share, at least not corporately. But the need is just as acute, and God does not care any less for them, just because they are not shared. If He, noticed and recognized the need of a woman at the well, whom most people ignored, looked down on, and considered unworthy to be in His presence, then surely he will recognize you. He will recognize me. If you are hurting, and you are crying out to Him, and reaching out in desperate need for help, He hears. He knows. He cares.
Sometimes, I feel as if my problems have just upped the definition of crazy (i.e. well, I thought what you shared was crazy, but boy have I a story for you) . . . So, likewise, you may feel that your level of crazy problems, well, no one will understand . . . I have a word of good news: He does.
There is no problem, or issue, that is so crazy, that it phases God. It may phase people. It will. But that’s ok. A person that is honest with himself or herself knows that that they cannot, and do not, have all the answers. That’s ok too. That person points or gently guides to one who does: God. People offer advice, which I’m grateful for, but I respect someone who has the courage to admit they don’t have it all together, either. One who’s brave enough to say, I really don’t know what to do, but I’m praying for you. I care about you. I’d much rather have someone who is with me, i.e. feeling with me, the pain I’m feeling, and hurting with me, and praying for me, rather than someone who knows all the answers and what to do. (Although, it does help tremendously, receiving good advice and wise counsel. However, as Tolkien once said, advice is a dangerous gift. I’ve experienced enough complex problems in this world to know that even the best advice does not always work out).
At the end of it all, people can only take you so far. They offer comfort, but it is limited. There is one who does not get phased, and who is always there for me, however. Someone who is not limited by time or space . . . nor death, nor sorrow, nor stress, nor worry. That person is Jesus, Yeshua, Ancient of Days and Adonai. He is so far above me, and yet so near.
If you don’t know Jesus, or your knowledge of him is only limited to portrayals of Christians in huge impersonal cathedrals in movies — or colored impressions from media — then it’s high time you got to know the real Jesus in person. Dig in, and find out the truth! You’ll be glad you did.
God does want a personal relationship with you. Find out more.