It’s been a difficult few weeks for the Church family with a number of bereavements which have had an impact across the Church. Since the news, we’ve spent time praying, weeping & worshipping together in our Gatherings and our Church Meeting. But of course, the grief doesn’t end in days or weeks, and we have a difficult road to travel together.
I hope the following article, will be a help & a comfort in this difficult time. I discovered it in a piece of misdirected post which arrived in our doormat this morning – I love the unexpected ways God provides comfort – His ways are perfect:
We’re never promised that life will be easy, it’s not there in the Bible and it’s no what we signed up for. All of us at times will face pain that knocks us off our feet. The last season has been hugely painful for me and my family. We’ve faced unanswered prayers and the deepest pain we’ve ever felt, but in the midst of it all we’ve kept going. We haven’t quit, and there we’ve met Jesus.
None of us can control the suffering that happens to us, our families, in our lives and in our communities. We don’t get to choose it, and we can’t control it. It happens to us and is part of being in a fallen world. And it’s here that we feel the depths of pain, and are left with the biggest questions. But what we can control is what happens in us as we walk this path.
When we’re faced with this pain, it can be all too easy to turn away from God, and for the way we think of Him to become distorted. I know this could have been the case for me. Who could blame us? We’re thrust into situations where our pain is raw and unfathomable.
But this isn’t what our Father wants for us. In our darkest times He wants us to keep our faces turned to Him. Head-on we need to face Him with all our questions, confusion, doubt and despair, because He is big enough and He’s there for us, at a time when it might not feel like it.
After my daughter, Lauren, passed away, I felt like I was beating my arms on God’s chest screaming “it’s not fair and I don’t understand, but I’ll still trust You”.
I’m not saying it’s easy, and I know that from personal experience, but I’ve come to think that there are times in our life when the definition of faith can be seen as choosing to walk through the middle of our pain, not to turn our face away from Jesus.
On the cross, Jesus cries out “my God, my God, why have You forsaken me?!” (Matthew 27:43). It’s honest and brutal, and shows the truth of how He was feeling. But then He goes on to say “Father, into Your hands I commit my spirit” (Luke 23:46), which is Him ultimately saying, “I don’t know why, but God, I trust You”. That’s what God wants from us. When we’re in pain and life sucks, He wants us to be brutally honest with Him. To share all of our deep emotions, questions and hurt with Him, because if we don’t do this we’re in danger of starting to turn our face away from Him.
He wants us to be looking full-on in His face telling Him how we’re feeling because He is big enough to cope with it. As we release our pain to Him and not away from Him, it’s here that He can wrap His arms around us and meet us in our pain.
As well as turning from God it can be tempting to withdraw from people too. But at times like this we need to do what feels counter-intuitive and push into community. A community that is going to love us, walk the path with us there for us. You’ll need them to talk to, pray for you, support you, and make sure that you’re turning your face to Jesus.
As the Church and community, we need to make sure we’re there for those who are hurting. We need to be Jesus to them and provide a safe place where people find family, where they can share the brutal honesty of how they’re feeling and be there for them as they walk this dark path. It’s a challenge for each of us wherever we find ourselves, to think about how we can be there for those who find themselves in pain.
So, my challenge to you is whenever you’re walking through loss or painful times, guard your hearts and turn your face to Jesus, because He is big enough to take all of the pain and emotions that you’re feeling so that He can walk this path with you.