Column – 3/3/17

The Funnel Cake House features carnival-style food
March 3, 2017
Comic – Superman
March 3, 2017

Column – 3/3/17

Can I be brutally honest? Life hurts.
Sometimes we pretend it doesn’t. We paste a smile on our face and go about daily tasks with the pain silently locked inside.
Only God sees the bleeding of our hearts. But are we meant to grieve alone? Is pain supposed to be hidden?
My family is broken. My unsaved father has chosen pornography over every other relationship in his life since I can remember.
He chose to deny reality and soak his mind with images that fed his sinful desires while locking himself in a prison of own choosing.
A prison without God or people.
Finally, when I was 12 years old, he admitted it—he didn’t love me. He told me to my face. He wished I had never been born.
In that moment, pain never felt so real.
We all hurt. Maybe my story is similar to yours. Maybe it’s completely different.
I don’t know. But I do know this: in some shape or form, everyone hurts.
Everyone has disappointments. But I also know that pain has a purpose.
Through my experience, God has used my pain to draw me closer to Himself and to give me a tool to share love with others.
I can honestly say that I have a better relationship with Jesus because I don’t have a relationship with my earthly father.
I can recall countless nights of feeling God’s presence so near to me as I cried myself to sleep because my heart hurt so deeply.
God has shown me His love through my heartache.
But because I am a flawed human being, simply knowing that I don’t suffer in vain doesn’t always ease the burden of that pain.
Yet, the truth is I don’t have to hide my suffering. I don’t have to pretend that life is sunshine and lollipops all the time.
And neither do you. Jesus didn’t. John 11:35 says that “Jesus wept.”
Jesus understands that life hurts. “He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief,” Isaiah 53:3 says.
Jesus experienced the pain of his cousin being murdered, the pain of being misunderstood, the pain of being betrayed by the person who was supposed to be His best friend, the pain of His creation crucifying Him and the pain of His own Father turning away.
1 Peter 3:18 says, “For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit.”
But Jesus’ pain was the platform for His greatest ministry.
“Who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God,” Hebrews 12:2 says.
Without the horrible torture of the cross, there would be no Resurrection Sunday.
There would be no death to sin and defeat of Satan, and there would be no hope.
But Jesus chose to suffer. He suffered for you and for me. He suffered so that we can have victory over sin and death. He suffered so that Heaven can be our reality.
But He also hurt so that you and I don’t have to grieve alone.
Pain didn’t triumph in Jesus’ life. And it won’t in mine. And it doesn’t have to in yours.
Because through Christ’s power, pain can be a beautiful tool.
A tool that draws your heart and my heart close to Jesus—showing the world that even though we hurt, the God we serve is more powerful than sorrow.
People need to hear that message. Jesus is love, and He is with us in the pain.
“The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit,” Psalm 34:18 says.
But people need more than a sermon of words. They need to know that someone understands—that someone cares.
Maybe God has allowed you to cry because He wants you to wipe away someone else’s tears.
Maybe God wants you to tell someone else that they are not alone in their heartache.
We are supposed to be Jesus’ hands. Jesus washed the dirt off His disciples’ feet. In that culture, washing feet was far from heroic. It was normal. It was even menial.
And maybe today, for you and me, washing someone’s feet is not a dramatic sacrificial act.
Sometimes feet-washing is simply being transparent about life and real struggles.
Sometimes it is listening and being that shoulder to cry on for someone else.
Don’t be silent about your pain. Instead of pretending life is perfect share your struggles and wash someone else’s feet.
When you hurt, God is not crushing you, He is molding you with nail-scarred hands. Molding you for a higher calling that He has specifically chosen for you.
Isaiah 64:8 says, “But now, O LORD, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand.”
Use the pain. Revel in Jesus and His perfect love for you.
Then reach out and love those who are suffering silently around you.
Yes, life hurts. But that’s okay. Because pain has a divine purpose.
And that purpose can be beautiful if we will only let Christ shine through the cracks of our brokenness.