In 1996 my father was terminally ill. He had basically estranged himself from our family for much of our lives. Upon finding out that he had been abandoned by my stepmother in his illness, my sister and I asked him to move to Colorado to live with us. In those months my father and I became very close once again as he began to see that family was always there. He died in bed holding my hand. He was the first of my parents to pass away and I remember that the pain was deeper than any wound I had experienced before.
This last year a friend and colleague of mine, Pastor Joseph Thompson, lost his sister in plane crash in Nigeria. As the days weeks and months followed this tragic event, I prayed and prayed for he and his family because I could see the deep pain that overwhelmed his heart. Joseph wrote a book, “Imagine Say…: What If God Was Really Counting On You?” , which I highly recommend. The truth is, as Joseph shares, “We seem to do fairly well at living in the ‘black’ and ‘white’ of the Christian faith as we perceive it. We encounter real problems when we have to live in the grey.”
At any time in our life, we are only a few steps away from deep pain, from deep loss and sorrow. But, we are closer than we think to a loving God that wants to be with us in these troubling times.
I have a love that runs deep for my wife. When times are good I appreciate her and celebrate each day that we have together. When things are tough, I turn to her and am thankful that she goes through my pain with me. She gives me strength in tough times. I likewise do the same with her.
When times are good….thank God and praise Him. Celebrate each day that you share together. When times are tough….thank God that He is there with you..and praise Him. I am thankful and believe that He goes through our pain with us. God can give us strength in tough times.
Sometimes life’s pain is overwhelming. Sometimes we are affected by the actions of others and are overwhelmed with the pain it has caused. How do we cope? How do we navigate the path we are on with such obstacles? Go to God in prayer–He listens. Ask God to help you heal, allow God to be your refuge and ask God to give you strength. Don’t just ask once or twice, ask every day, all day, and His strength will come to you.
God is there with the strength you need. God is there to help. By trusting in Him daily and allowing Him to be your refuge–we drown out difficulty. He will lead you out. Be strong in knowing that you will recover in this pain with God’s help. With God–even tears, grief mourning and sorrow–can yield a harvest of joy and blessing.
The Psalms are a storehouse of inspiration in times of pain:
Psalms 61:1-2 (TNIV)
1 God, hear my cry for help. Listen to my prayer. 2 From a place far away I call out to you. I call out as my heart gets weaker. Lead me to the safety of a rock that is high above me.
Psalms 71:14 (TNIV)
But I will always have hope. I will praise you more and more.
Psalms 55:22 (TNIV)
Turn your worries over to the Lord. He will keep you going. He will never let godly people fall.
Psalms 126:5-6 (TNIV)
5 Those who cry as they plant their crops will sing with joy when they gather them in. 6 Those who go out sobbing as they carry seeds to plant will come back singing with joy. They will bring the new crop back with them.
May you find healing in the midst of the grey of life’s pain and struggle. May Jesus be your refuge and strength and may you choose to walk with Him through each and every day of your life.